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California Tries Again for Vouchers

SACRAMENTO, CA -- Californians are working to put a proposition that would establish a voucher system for California, called the Educational Freedom Initiative, on the state ballot in November 1996.

The proposition will include vouchers for grades K-12. The scholarships would be issued in the following amounts: Kindergarten, $1000, 1st Grade, $1500, 2nd Grade, $2250, and 3rd through 12th, $3500. Money not used can be saved and applied toward later education choices, such as costly secondary education. Using the successful "GI Bill" disbursement method, the recipients of the scholarships will be the parents, not the schools.

The initiative provides all private schools and homeschoolers with the right to participate or not to participate. It would make it difficult for the state to place more restrictions on homeschoolers by requiring a supermajority of the legistlature to pass any state regulation of private schools.

A similar proposition on the California ballot in 1993, called Proposition 174, failed. Supporters are confident they have answered the criticisms made during the earlier attempt. The Educational Freedom Initiative answers such questions as the amount of money allocated per voucher, the inclusion of religious schools, admission procedures opened for inner-city poor, cost of special education, and parental allowance to supplement vouchers.

Concerned Californians are now volunteering long hours in the hope of gaining the necessary one million signatures. Supporters of the proposition include Milton Friedman of the Hoover Institution, the Rutherford Institute, and the Institute for Justice.

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