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Whit Johnson ReportingThe School Voucher Bill has passed through Utah's legislature. The state is one major step closer now to helping pay for a child's private schooling. It's being called one of the most significant, far-reaching pieces of state legislation in years, and it's not without controversy.
Our exclusive poll numbers show most Utahns have mixed opinions regarding the school voucher bill, but their views don't really matter anymore. The state Senate took an unusual approach and quickly passed the bill 19 to 10.
It's a new and historic step for Utah education, the freedom for families to choose where their children go to school and with the help of state money. In a quick decision this afternoon, the GOP-led Senate voted to pass the school voucher bill.
Sen. Curtis Bramble, (R) Majority Leader: "I think it will motivate public education to be a little more responsive."
Depending on income, a family could receive between $500 and $3,000 for their child to attend private school.
Sen. Gregory S. Bell/ (R) Davis: "It is a myth to say that this will be exploited."
The bill's passing didn't come without opposition, though. Concerns range from a decrease in funding for public schools to the use of state dollars for polygamist education.
Sen. Scott McCoy, (D) Salt Lake: "The doors for this money are going to be wide open to who-knows-what kind of different schools that just pop up in the state."
It seems the public is divided as well. In an exclusive Dan Jones poll for KSL and the Deseret Morning News, 50 percent of Utahns oppose the bill and 41 percent support it. The final decision is now up to the governor, who has already said he will sign the bill in to law, so it's looking like a done deal.