NC House panel backs grants for private schools

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A bill giving taxpayer money to North Carolina students to attend private or religious schools has been approved by a House panel.

The Education Committee approved a bill Tuesday giving $4,200 annual grants to poorer students. The program is limited in its first year to students who quality for the national school lunch program but would expand to families earning more in later years.

Supporters say the measure gives parents choices to meet the needs of their children and saves public schools money. Opponents say the program will inevitably hurt public schools and will not serve truly disadvantaged students.

The bill drew opponents from both parties and narrowly passed the committee. It now heads to another committee. Bill sponsors say a financial analysis will support their arguments.

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