Judge Strikes Down North Carolina's Voucher Program

August 25, 2014

A judge in North Carolina has ruled the state's school voucher program unconstitutional. According to Judge Robert Hobgood, allowing public funds to go toward private and religious schools is unconstitutional under North Carolina law.

Seventy-one of North Carolina's school districts sued the state for implementing its voucher program.

  • The program would have provided low-income families whose children are enrolled in public schools with up to $4,200 annually (known as Opportunity Scholarships) to send their children to a private school.
  • According to the News and Observer, parents in North Carolina had filed more than 5,500 applications seeking vouchers for their children, and the state had made $10 million available for 2,400 student spots.
  • With the ruling, the program will not be implemented.

According to Elizabeth McDuffie of North Carolina's Educational Assistance Authority (the entity in charge of the voucher program), over 1,800 students had already accepted their Opportunity Scholarships for the upcoming school year.

North Carolina intends to appeal the decision.

Source: Anne Blythe and Jane Stancill, "NC to appeal ruling banning taxpayer money for private schools," News and Observer, August 21, 2014; Matthew Burns and Laura Leslie, "Judge rules NC school voucher program unconstitutional," WRAL, August 22, 2014. 

 

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