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Assembly Panel Takes Up Pilot School Choice Bill

NJ Governor Chris Christie (credit: CBS 2)

NJ Governor Chris Christie (credit: CBS 2)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – An Assembly panel on Thursday is set to debate a startup school choice program that would allow some children in 166 failing public schools in New Jersey to transfer elsewhere.

The Opportunity Scholarship Act grants tax credits to businesses that make contributions to education scholarships. Students in 13 failing districts would apply for scholarship vouchers to offset the costs of attending private or parochial school.

A Senate committee advanced the measure last month with bipartisan support.

The Assembly version also is co-sponsored by Democrats and Republicans.

Gov. Chris Christie strongly supports the measure. Expanding school choice and increasing the number of charter schools are centerpieces of the governor’s education agenda.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)