More than $4,000,000 worth of taxpayer-funded school vouchers have now been paid out to private schools subject to virtually no state oversight in North Carolina, according to records obtained by N.C. Policy Watch.
Documents released by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority show that five private schools have now received at least $100,000 in state funds thanks to the new Opportunity Scholarships program, which offers low-income families $4,200 vouchers annually to use at private schools that are overwhelmingly affiliated with religious institutions and are not required to follow a curriculum, employ certified teachers or conduct criminal background checks on employees.
Superior Court Judge Robert H. Hobgood found the school voucher program to be unconstitutional last year, but the program has been allowed to proceed while a court battle over the program’s legality continues. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the voucher case February 17.
The top twelve schools receiving taxpayer-funded school vouchers are:
- Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh) – $180,600
- Greensboro Islamic Academy – $142,800
- Concord First Assembly Academy (Concord) – $120,190
- Fayetteville Christian School – $118,230
- Freedom Christian School (Fayetteville) – $108,254
- Trinity Christian School (Fayetteville) – $96,600
- Tabernacle Christian School (Monroe) – $96,568
- Al-Iman School (Raleigh) – $86,841
- Raleigh Christian Academy – $81,900
- Victory Christian Center School (Charlotte) – $77,646
- Liberty Christian Academy (Richlands) – $75,530
- Bal-Perazim Christian Academy (Fayetteville) – $72,870
A total of $4,159,457 public dollars have been spent of the $10 million that state lawmakers appropriated for school vouchers last year (that figure does not include administrative costs).
Records also included numbers of school voucher recipients by ethnicity.
American Indian or Alaska Native: 9
Black or African American 616
Last year, N.C. Policy Watch reported that Greensboro Islamic Academy, one of the top recipients of taxpayer-funded school vouchers, was in financial trouble and pleading online for help from the public to fund its $150,000 shortfall so that the school could complete the 2013-14 school year.
Greensboro Islamic Academy has now received $142,800 for its 63 voucher students.
Read the full list of school voucher recipients below.