Governor Chris Sonunu signed a controversial school funding bill, known as the Croydon bill, into law Thursday.
Districts will now be allowed to use tax money to send students to private schools if there's no public option in the district. Religious schools, however, are excluded.
The measure stems from a legal dispute between the Croydon school board and state officials. Croydon doesn't have a public school for students beyond grade 4, and the district was paying to send some students to a nearby private school. A judge ruled that illegal. The dispute then became a flash-p oint for school-choice advocates in the state.
Proponents of the change packed into a tiny old schoolhouse in Croydon Thursday to watch the bill signing. In the crowd was Sen. Ruth Ward of Stoddard. She said she hopes other districts can now follow Croydon's lead. "This is a little tiny town and I think they've done a tremendous job of thinking: let's see if we can do something about this situation," she said.
Those opposed to the measure argue it drains more state money away from already under-funded public schools.