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NC House panel hosts public debate on voucher bill

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A proposal to give public money for North Carolina students to attend private or religious schools is drawing fierce debate.
    
The House Education Committee heard from both sides Tuesday but didn't take a vote on a bill giving $4,200 grants to poorer students. The program is limited to students who qualify for the national school lunch program in its first year but would expand to families earning up to 133 percent of that level in subsequent years.
    
A family of three couldn't earn more than $36,131 to qualify in the 2013-14 school year.
    
Opponents argued the bill will deplete public schools without helping the neediest afford private schools.
    
Supporters argue the research is on their side and that parents have a right to choose for themselves.

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