Appeals court releases school voucher money for hundreds of NC students

Posted September 19, 2014

School voucher generic, Opportunity Scholarship

— The state Court of Appeals on Friday released taxpayer money to hundreds of North Carolina families who had been awarded vouchers to send their children to private or religious schools.

Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood last month declared the Opportunity Scholarship program unconstitutional and ordered a halt to any disbursement of state funds under the program.

The appellate court left that order in place for anybody who was to receive money after Hobgood's Aug. 21 ruling, but the court said the 1,878 students who had already accepted vouchers they had won in an earlier lottery should receive the money, pending the outcome of an appeal in the case.

"Today’s historic decision allows nearly 2,000 students already enrolled in the Opportunity Scholarship program to continue to attend their new schools with confidence and security for this school year," Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, which backs vouchers, said in a statement. "We will continue to push for an expedited answer on the merits of the case, which we believe will ultimately be upheld as constitutional."

About 5,500 students applied for the annual grants of up to $4,200 per child, and the first $730,000 in tuition money for more than 360 students was about to be distributed to schools when Hobgood halted the transactions.

Hobgood ruled that the private schools can discriminate in their admissions and don't have the same curriculum and teacher certification standards as North Carolina's public schools. He also accused state lawmakers of trying to get around the constitutional guarantee of providing a sound education to low-income students by shifting them to private schools that aren't bound by that requirement.

Both sides declared victory Friday.

“Today’s ruling is welcome news for thousands of North Carolina families seeking to provide what’s best for their children," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, a voucher supporter, said in a statement.

“We are pleased that the court will not allow future taxpayer money to be used to fund private education while appeal of the case is pending,” Rodney Ellis, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, which opposes the voucher program, said in a statement. “NCAE advocated that no funds be released prior to a court decision and also advocated for a hearing schedule that would have eliminated this inconvenience to parents and students.”


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  • theliberadicator Sep 24, 2014

    Good. No matter what some liberal Judge says, they'll never see that money again.

  • Terry Watts Sep 23, 2014
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    "One Child Policy"... Now where have we heard that phrase before???

  • 50s Child Sep 23, 2014

    Question: if the public schools are so horrible and private so expensive, why in the world do poor people keep having kids and charging their bills to me?

    I'd love to see a very simple overhaul of the system: one child per family gets a free public education. You want more kids, or you find a new bed partner who also has kids, that doesn't suddenly make you a new "family". You pay for all the rest yourself.

    Come to think of it, all welfare programs should be so designed. Think of all the unloved children who wouldn't be brought into the world because there's no extra cash handed out for doing so.

  • 50s Child Sep 23, 2014

    "What if they don't "win" the "lottery" for the scholarship, are they sent back to public school?"

    I'd bet the usual suspects who love love love the news camera will be out howling about the trauma of switching schools, and presto change-o, another "program" for ThePoor will be entrenched. Kind of like the CACA "kids" who will never be sent back to their countries, never have to become citizens, and never have to pay back taxes and penalties that Pelosi promised us they would.

  • miseem Sep 23, 2014

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    Wonder why my earlier reply to this post was censored? All I wanted to say is that if THELIBERADICATOR feels like throwing away state tax money they will never get back is good, the person posting that comment must, by definition of the right wing, be a liberal.

  • tracmister Sep 22, 2014

    Well, it looks like the tax payers will be out some money due to the voucher scheme.

  • miseem Sep 22, 2014

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    As I have said before, don't count on the NC Supreme Court standing up for the NC Constitution when political and election pressures come to bear. A finding from another sources reports that "Those two appointments will give the state’s highest court a 5-2 conservative edge, though Martin and other justices say they try to maintain a fidelity to the law and rise above political pressures"

    Don't count on getting a rise from these people or maintaining fidelity to anything other than their political base and campaign contributors. And it says they TRY to maintain fidelity to the law and rise above political pressure, not that they will actually do it.

  • theliberadicator Sep 22, 2014

    Good. That's money the state will never get back. Regardless of what some liberal judge says.

  • Doug Pawlak Sep 22, 2014
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    They hate this kind of stuff...facts that disagree with what they WANT to believe.

  • Terry Watts Sep 22, 2014
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    Here is a Study that compares private vs public test results: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2006461.asp

    From the Summary: "The average differences in adjusted school means for both grade 4 reading and grade 8 mathematics were not significantly different from zero... For Conservative Christian schools, the average adjusted school mean in reading was not significantly different from that of public schools. In mathematics, the average adjusted school mean for Conservative Christian schools was significantly lower than that of public schools."