« Poll: Many Americans Don't Understand Charter Schools But Favor Them Anyway | Main | Calif. Teachers' Union Is Getting "Serious About Charter School Organizing" »

North Carolina School Voucher Program Is Ruled Unconstitutional

| No comments

By Andrew Ujifusa. Cross posted from the State EdWatch blog.

North Carolina Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood has ruled that the state's school voucher program is unconstitutional because "appropriating taxpayer funds to unaccountable schools does not accomplish a public purpose," WRAL reported Aug. 21.

Hobgood ruled against the state's Opportunity Scholarship program, which was passed into law in 2013. The program provides up to $4,200 in private school scholarship funds to each student. To be eligible for these scholarships, students must qualify for free or reduced-price meal programs based on their household income levels. The scholarships were slated to be introduced to the 2014-15 school year for students who had attended public schools in the state during the prior academic year, although eligibility requirements change in 2015-16. Lawmakers appropriated $10 million for the scholarships during the 2014-15 school year. 

But the North Carolina Association of Educators, the state teachers' union, and others sued to overturn the program at the end of 2013, says the voucher program violates the state constitution "because it appropriates revenue paid by North Carolina taxpayers to private schools for primary and secondary education."

Previously, Hobgood had granted the plaintiffs an injunction that halted the voucher funds from being distributed to students. But in May, the state Supreme Court overturned that injunction, allowing the state to release the money. After his ruling, an attorney for the state asked what would be done about the funds that had already been distributed to students for the vouchers. Hobgood had a response ready that could present a challenge for state government:


In response to the Aug. 21 ruling, Darrell Allison, the president of Parents for Education Freedom in North Carolina, which supports the vouchers, said in a statement that there will be an appeal and an attempt to block Hobgood's most recent ruling from taking effect until the case gets further consideration.

"While this court decision might represent a temporary roadblock on the path towards educational freedom in North Carolina, I believe it's just that—temporary," Allison said, saying he was confident that a higher court would overturn Hobgood's decision just as the state Supreme Court did with the earlier May ruling. 

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments