News

Breaking news: N.C Supreme Court rules in school voucher case, vouchers allowed

The N.C. Supreme Court ruled that public dollars can be used for vouchers that allow low-income children to attend private schools in North Carolina, in a ruling released late Thursday afternoon.

That will mean that funding will continue for the voucher program this upcoming school year.

In the 55-page opinion released late Thursday afternoon, N.C. Chief Justice Mark Martin said that the legislation creating the vouchers did not overtly counter the state’s constitution, and therefore the court could not rule the program unconstitutional.

“Our constitutionally assigned role is limited to a determination of whether the legislation is plainly and clearly prohibited by the constitution,” Martin wrote. “Because no prohibition in the constitution or in our precedent forecloses the General Assembly’s enactment of the challenged legislation here, the trial court’s order declaring the legislation unconstitutional is reversed.”

You can read the full decision, including the dissents, here.

Opponents of the measure had argued that the private school vouchers drain needed resources for public schools, and that it violated the state constitution to send public money to unaccountable private schools that are often religious in nature and can pick and choose (or discriminate against) their students.

Proponents, on the other hand, said the “opportunity scholarships” offered a needed educational choice to poor families unable to afford private schooling on their own.

For background, read this excerpt from an earlier article from N.C. Policy Watch reporter Sharon McCloskey:

In December 2013, groups that included taxpayers and the state and local school boards filed two separate lawsuits, alleging that the law violates state constitutional provisions requiring the expenditure of public funds exclusively for public schools, and contending that a voucher program wholly devoid of standards fails to meet the state’s obligation to provide all children with a “sound basic education” and thus does not satisfy the constitution’s “public purpose” provision.

[Superior Court]Judge Hobgood agreed with the challengers and temporarily blocked implementation of the program this past August, but state appellate courts later allowed monies to flow to families already approved for vouchers for the current school year while the cases proceeded in the courts.

The Supreme Court has likewise allowed the application process for vouchers next year to move forward while it considers the appeal.

Check Also

UNC Board of Governors face protest, chooses new board chair and interim president

It was a busy day at the final ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Critics say hikes could have 'devastating impact,' serve as 'another form of voter su [...]

While COVID-19 has cancelled a lot of things this year, it hasn’t cancelled the 2020 Census. The pro [...]

Last year, after four consecutive years of poor academic performance, state lawmakers rewarded North [...]

Chancellor's failure to share health department reopening recommendations called a "breach [...]

History reminds us that it is a familiar pattern with autocrats and delusional politicians who perce [...]

The post Stamping out a fair election appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

I am a white woman, educated in Durham, by mostly white teachers. From preschool to high school, my [...]

In 1986, I was a recent seminary graduate and working with Oakland’s interfaith community. I was ear [...]