Education

Judge to rule Thursday on school voucher program

Posted August 19
Updated August 21

— Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood said he will rule Thursday morning on whether it's constitutional for tax money to be used to pay for tuition at private or religious schools.

Hobgood heard several hours of testimony Tuesday on the permissibility of the "Opportunity Scholarship" program. Passed by the General Assembly in 2013, the program gives annual grants of up to $4,200 to families that want to send their children to private schools.

Taxpayer and teachers groups, as well as many of the state's 115 school boards, are challenging whether the state can spend public money on K-12 tuition at private or religious schools.

The groups argued that spending taxpayer money on private schools is unconstitutional, especially when some of the schools discriminate in their admissions and don't have the academic standards or accountability of public schools.

Advocates say the vouchers allow low-income children to attend schools that meet their individual needs when public schools fail to do so. They also maintain that spending $10 million on the program could save the state money because of the high per-pupil cost in public schools.

Hobgood blocked the state voucher program in February until there could be a trial on the issue, but the North Carolina Supreme Court reverse his ruling in May.

More than 5,500 families applied for the program prior to Hobgood's initial ruling, and the first $730,000 in tuition money for more than 360 students was released on Friday.

30 Comments

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  • Mods Hate Me Aug 21, 11:36 a.m.

    It's Republicans trying to destroy public education. They want charter schools because they can... View More

    — Posted by pantlessscientific

    I think you're confusing charter schools with private schools. Charter schools are public funded and non-discriminatory. I'm actually a little curious what the effect of this ruling will have on the charter school arrangement in NC.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 21, 10:11 a.m.

    Article IX, sections 6 and 7 of the NC State Constitution:

    [url]http://www.ncleg.net/Legislation/c... View More

    — Posted by Atheistinafoxhole

    For those of you Americans out there who value our Rule of Law, here's our Constitution that says money is to "used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools." ...assuming the Rule of Law or our Constitution means anything to you, that is.

    Sec. 6. State school fund.

    The proceeds of all lands...all moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property belonging to the State for purposes of public education; the net proceeds of all sales...all other grants, gifts, and devises...shall be paid into the State Treasury and, together with so much of the revenue of the State as may be set apart for that purpose, SHALL BE FAITHFULLY APPROPRIATED AND USED EXCLUSIVELY FOR ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING A UNIFORM SYSTEM OF FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS." (emphasis mine)

    Vouchers are Un-Constitutional and therefore Un-American. So, are you an American?

  • Atheistinafoxhole Aug 19, 5:08 p.m.

    Article IX, sections 6 and 7 of the NC State Constitution:

    [url]http://www.ncleg.net/Legislation/constitution/article9.html/url]

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 19, 3:27 p.m.

    So the state can pay peoples mortgage
    http://www.wral.com/behind-on-bills-state-offers-help/139040... View More

    — Posted by Zealotry

    Did you read the article you posted? It's a loan ($36K max) for a pre-screened homeowner in order to prevent them from being foreclosed. Only if they stay in their house & pay their bills for 10 years do they get a reprieve. What do you think a foreclosure costs us, our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses over 10 years? Do you want houses foreclosing next door to your house?

    What does any of this have to do with giving public tax dollars to Satanic, Christian, Islamic & other religious and private schools?

  • Save It Aug 19, 2:00 p.m.

    Absolutely bad business to be using tax money for private school tuition regardless of who it's benefiting. This is just a pandering move by the right to dismantle equitable education. Strike it down with harsh reprimand to these "lawmakers".

  • Zealotry Aug 19, 1:19 p.m.

    So the state can pay peoples mortgage
    http://www.wral.com/behind-on-bills-state-offers-help/13904009/
    But do not dare try and get your child a decent education with precious state money!!!! tsk

  • raleighindependent Aug 19, 12:27 p.m.

    I thought the Republicans were against redistributing income? We dont they give that money back to all the taxpayers?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 19, 12:08 p.m.

    VOUCHERS.... because taxpayers should have choices beyond funding the failed public education... View More

    — Posted by mep

    Where's the personal responsibility ? If you want your child to attend a private/religious... View More

    — Posted by iopsyc

    So because I want my child to be better educated... I have to pay not only for the public... View More

    — Posted by mep

    According to your logic, only people with school-aged children would pay for schools. How well do you think that would work?

    All us pay for "the common good" and you don't get to raid this fund for your own personal gain. You're seeking Big Government funding of your own private desires... You're seeking an entitlement. So, tell us how you honestly feel about welfare, big government, entitlements, etc. and how this applies to your own behavior.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 19, 12:02 p.m.

    Parents who send their kids to private schools should have the same money per pupil as the ones... View More

    — Posted by Danny22

    You know that Private schools can deny anyone for any reason...too white, too black, too poor, too handicapped, too dumb, too violent, too religious, too non-religious, etc.

    Why would you give these groups public tax dollars? Or, is it just for groups that *you* agree with?...and none for anyone else?

    I'm guessing you're one of them Big Government liberals? (sarcasm)

    Seriously, though, if you don't want to use public schools, you don't get a refund...just like you don't get money to go to Disney if you don't want to pay for public parks. Can you handle that much fairness?

  • musthavecoffee Aug 19, 12:02 p.m.

    What quality private school in this area costs $4200? And, there's no free/reduced lunch at private schools. How are low income families going to afford the rest? Sounds like a scam to me.

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