Montana’s highest court has struck down a tuition tax-credit program which, as enacted by that state’s legislature, allowed tuition scholarships to benefit students at private religious schools as well as secular schools.
The program, which provides a tax credit of up to $150 per year to individuals and corporations that donate to tuition scholarship organizations, violates the state constitution’s provision barring government aid to “sectarian schools,” the supreme court ruled. The program could not be saved by a rule adopted by the state revenue department that excluded private religious schools from participation, the court further held.
The state high court ruled that the Montana constitution “more broadly prohibits ‘any’ state aid to sectarian schools and draws a more stringent line than that drawn by” the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against government establishment of religion.
A version of this article appeared in the January 16, 2019 edition of Education Week as Montana Supreme Court Strikes Down Tax-Credit Program for Private Schools