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Should Private Schools With 'Anti-Gay' Policies Get Public Funding?

A report released in January names some Gwinnett County private schools as those receiving state dollars despite "anti-gay" policies. Do you think this is a fair practice in your community?

According to a report recently released by the Southern Education Foundation, some scholarship money generated through a Georgia tax credit program has been used at religious schools that ban gay, lesbian and bisexual students.

And, those schools should not be given the public funding, the report asserts.

At least two of the schools named in the report are located in Gwinnett County:

  • Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula
  • Providence Christian Academy in Lilburn

In 2008, legislators established a tax credit program to allow individual and corporate taxpayers to contribute to qualified student scholarship organizations and receive a dollar-for-dollar credit against their Georgia income tax liabilities. SSOs provide the funds to private schools for all or part of a student’s tuition.

Although the amounts awarded to each school are unknown, more than $170 million in taxpayer funds have been set aside to cover the tuition costs of students in private schools during the last four years.

And, the Southern Education Foundation knows of at least 115 private schools in the tax credit scholarship program that have severe anti-gay policies or belong to state and national private school associations that promote anti-gay policies, according to the report.

"Altogether, as much as one-third of all private schools participating in Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program may be governed by the schools’ explicit anti-gay policies or their church’s anti-gay statements of faith," the report reads.

And that count, according to the report, is likely an understatement.

The Southern Education Foundation does not take issue with the policies of the schools. They have a constitutional right to believe whatever they want to believe and to operate their private affairs in accordance with those beliefs, the foundation said.

But schools that "exclude, condemn, and demonize students for who they are and who they accept in their lives" should not receive public funds, the foundation wrote in its report. "Tax dollars should go to schools that educate all students. That is the promise and virtue of our democracy."

Click here to read the full report from the Southern Education Foundation. It is also attached to this article as a PDF. Click here to read about other metro Atlanta schools listed in the report.

Should public money be used to assist needy families who want to send their children to private schools with explicit anti-gay policies? Tell us in the comment section below.

Afairhope February 01, 2013 at 07:49 PM
If you are getting a tax credit from the government then they are public funds whether you think they are or not. with a tax credit the government is forfeiting whatever the amount of tax credit is. Someone said that if you send your children to a private school you shouldn't have to pay for public schools. In all places that I know schools are partially financed by property taxes. So, if you own property and pay property taxes you support public education. I've never had any children, but I have paid for a lot of public education. One thing a private school can do and the government will not bother them is to take no public funds.
Rusty Taylor February 01, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Hammer meet nail head!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rusty Taylor February 01, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Who has EVERY said that global warming AND global cooling do not exist? Now MAN MADE global warming I will argue about. Of course the globe warms and then it cools it is cyclical. Some people even call it SEASONS
Rusty Taylor February 01, 2013 at 08:00 PM
It does raise an agenda question though. If the government was TRULY concerned about deaths and the way to keep people from killing each other would they not try and ban EVERYTHING on the list you provided?? More people are killed with cars, hammers and knives every year than guns by a LONG shot!! Pardon the pun. Makes you wonder does it not?
Jason Caldwell February 01, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Global warming is a real and measurable ongoing event. http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
Afairhope February 01, 2013 at 08:18 PM
If you get credit for taxes you would otherwise owe you are getting government funds, in fact there are some tax credits that are sent to non tax payers who qualify for the credit. If you are getting a tax credit you are getting government funds period. The government already subsidizes children through the Child Tax Credit.
Afairhope February 01, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Marie, Are you a geneticist? You do not know if homosexuality is a choice. I personally do not believe that a person decides one day, gee I think I'll be a homosexual.
Afairhope February 01, 2013 at 08:37 PM
I agree, a private school should be able to take any student that they want, Just don't take any government funds or tax subsidies.
Rusty Taylor February 01, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Changes in Mars' south polar cap may represent climate change, but this is likely due to phenomena particular to Mars. Changes in Neptune's brightness do seem to correlate with changes in the Sun, but the linking mechanism (if any) is unknown. Changes in Pluto's atmosphere seem to be seasonal; work is ongoing on this topic. In the cases of Mars, Neptune, and Pluto, our understanding is incomplete. They may prove to have no connection to mechanisms for natural climate change on Earth. At the same time, some global warming believers have been too hasty in dismissing these observations. Still, they do demonstrate that we don't fully understand climate change.
Rusty Taylor February 01, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Well then the reverse should be true. If your kids go to private school then you should not have to pay school tax.
Mark Rockingham February 01, 2013 at 10:15 PM
why should I pay for obama care, or what about all the years I was single without a child in school. My property tax paid for a lot of schools which I never used. why should my tax dollars pay for planned parenthood? why should the government take my tax dollars and pay for a service that I was not going to use. I guess we don't always get a choice. Don't know what church that you have been attending, but most do some charitable work.
Good Grief Y'all February 02, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Why should I have to pay for war? Or no-bid padded defense contracts? Or Congressmen or state legislators who work for lobbyists and special interests and themselves instead of for the people who voted them in? For Congressional junkets and partying at taxpayer expense? Or ER care for people who don't buy insurance or pay their own way? For bridges to nowhere or municipal airports in the boonies with little to no traffic? For any of the Congressional pork projects all over the country, for foreign aid? We all share the expense of living in a civilized, modern, convenient society - that's why. We don't get to choose. We do get to vote.
Afairhope February 02, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Good Grief Y'all, I agree with you on a lot of things, although I don't think that is the subject being discussed. Being from GA it's true we don't have anyone representing us that pays any attention to what the constituency thinks. When asked how much government do you want, the respondent said, "enough to give me what I want and to deny the others".
Hal Schneider February 02, 2013 at 04:16 AM
GGY, but you want to decide who should and shouldn't be eligible for a tax credit, based on YOUR criteria. This is why ALL state and federal subsidizing of education is a bad idea. It is used by those holding the purse strings to reward those who "think" like them and punish those who don't. 100% local control of funding for schools is the only sane answer!
Will01 February 02, 2013 at 05:03 AM
Rusty: Point taken, and thanks for the correction. A more germane example, then: I was vehemently against the war in Iraq, but my federal tax dollars went, in part, to fund that war. But I don't expect a refund. Once again, the system would not work if taxpayers only paid for what they agreed upon or the services they personally planned to use.
Will01 February 02, 2013 at 05:17 AM
Rusty: You mean the field trip to a Mosque in Boston, in 2010, was on the news this week? A field trip that, yes, required parental consent and included parents and grandparents of students as chaperones: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/wellesley/articles/2010/09/18/wellesley_pupils_prayers_at_mosque_fuel_call_for_policy_change/?page=2 The issue there was over the prayer, not parental consent. And that was based on one witness who claimed that the boys had been forced to participate. Other witnesses said it was not even suggested that they should participate, but a few did so out of respect, much as I participate out of respect when visiting the place of worship of another faith. My mother has been a public school teacher for 40 years in systems across the country, and I called her to get her take on this. Simply put: Off-campus trips require parental consent at some stage of the game, period. I'm not saying maverick teachers have never taken students off campus without consent, but those who do are asking for a lawsuit.
Glenn February 02, 2013 at 01:43 PM
So many hearts, so much anger.
Racer X February 02, 2013 at 01:53 PM
I'm with Hal. The Federal government shouldn't be involved in the education process at all, public or private. When the feds involved, they get to mandate what is taught. Our children are taught the government's version of history and are being formed to the Fed's agenda rather than our own. As far as the gay issue, I really just don't care. I think way too much attention is given to gays, especially when you consider the relatively tiny percentage of the population they represent. US adults think the gay population is as high as 25% while, in reality, it is a mere 3.5%. Let queers do what they want. It's not really going to affect normal people much at all. http://www.gallup.com/poll/147824/adults-estimate-americans-gay-lesbian.aspx
Mr. B February 02, 2013 at 01:58 PM
"A tax credit is government money." Not the first dumb thing I've heard today but certainly one of the dumbest. Government money? Wouldn't that be OUR tax dollars. Wouldn't WE be the government? Shouldn't WE decide where our money is spent? I don't want to pay any tax. Toll roads, private security, fire protection provided by your insurer just like the old days. When we let government get involved, things went downhill fast and are still declining...at a faster rate.
Afairhope February 02, 2013 at 02:16 PM
For Mr. B, I'm not trying to say what is right or wrong or whether it's good or bad, all I'm saying that if you owe taxes and you get a tax credit the government is forfeiting money due. I didn't make the law and didn't even say that I agree with it. My position is that private schools, church sponsored or otherwise should not get government support.
Mr. B February 02, 2013 at 02:37 PM
We agree on that except I don't think it should even be a discussion item. You don't want to see tax monies used for private schools. I don't want to see government collect and distribute tax monies into any school system. Keep our money out of politicians hands and give it to schools we choose for our children. I have never had children in GA schools yet I have paid more tax into the school system than most Georgians.
Good Grief Y'all February 03, 2013 at 01:39 PM
@Hal - no, I recognize that it's not up to me or my "criteria". Too bad so many others don't. It is up to Constitutional law - you know, that document that the right supposedly reveres and no one else does?. There must be separation of church and state. As is fully evident on these threads - not everyone's religion is the same. It's a parent's choice whether to public school, home school or private school. They choose to forfeit tax dollar assistance when they pick a school that discriminates for any reason, be it religious, racial, political, ideological. That's their choice.
Mr. B February 03, 2013 at 01:50 PM
So GGY, show me in Constitutional law where the US government has the right to tax its citizens. Show me where and why we have to "choose to forfeit tax dollar assistance." Here is a hint for you: Don't waste your time looking because it isn't in there.
Good Grief Y'all February 03, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Huh? I was commenting on the fact that we taxpayers don't get to choose how our tax dollars are spent, and I illustrated some of the ways that I disagree with the spending. Others on this thread were doing that, too. To clarify, I was responding to Mark's reply to you - not directly to your post. I didn't see the comment, "When asked how much government do you want, the respondent said, "enough to give me what I want and to deny the others." But, thanks for the acknowledgment of sometime agreement. That's rare for me. I don't expect anyone to agree with me on everything, and many on nothing. So, I'll take it. Basically, I come here to state, not debate.
Good Grief Y'all February 03, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Ain't that the truth?!
Good Grief Y'all February 03, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Without public education and tax-dollar support, you would see widespread educational disparity in our communities. There are many rural and poor districts with little local revenue and citizens with low-paying jobs who couldn't afford to educate their children privately. Some of the best minds come from those areas. What a shame to waste them. How heartless not to care.
Good Grief Y'all February 03, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Damn, Mr. B! I guess we've all been duped for 200+ years! Except, wait . . . "Section 8. Clause 1. The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." I believe this is known as the General Welfare Clause. And, the 16th Amendment authorizing federal income tax: "Passed by Congress on July 2, 1909, and ratified February 3, 1913, the 16th amendment established Congress's right to impose a Federal income tax."
R February 04, 2013 at 12:29 AM
No
Rusty Taylor February 05, 2013 at 06:19 PM
@ Afairhope... private schools proliferated AFTER they started taking GOD out of schools. The majority of private schools are RELIGIOUS not segregated. I went to one and it had NOTHING to do with trying to be segregated.
Rusty Taylor February 05, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Actually a tax credit does not mean that you are getting government money, a tax credit means that they are allowing you to keep more of YOUR MONEY.

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