An expansive education savings account bill passed the Louisiana House of Representatives this week.

Companion legislation in the Senate is also progressing.

The legislation authored by Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Carencro, would replace an existing voucher program for students in failing schools with a universal program in a three-phase program, covering those in poverty and with a disability first before extending to all students.

She said one of the advantages to Louisiana joining the 14 other states with education savings account programs later is that state officials could learn from the mistakes of early adopters and implement a program that takes advantage of what works in other states.

“This program will allow the money to truly follow the child and empower the parents to be able to choose the education that it is best for their child,” Emerson said. “I don’t believe this bill will shut down our public schools and nor is that my desire at all. I don’t believe there has been a single school closure in a state that has adopted an ESA program.”

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