North Carolina’s highest court has ruled that the state’s school voucher program is constitutional, according to The Charlotte Observer.
The North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina School Boards Association filed the original lawsuit against the Opportunity Scholarship Program at the end of 2013, shortly after it was created by the legislature.
The program gives publicly funded scholarships of up to $4,200 to low-income students to use at private schools.
“We are thankful to the Justices of the North Carolina state Supreme Court for believing that any program which helps ensure all children have access to a sound, basic education is serving a public purpose,” said Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, in a statement.
— PEFNC (@PEFNC) July 24, 2015
Last year, around 1,200 students used vouchers to attend private schools. At least three-quarters of them were affiliated with a religion, according to the Associated Press.
“This decision will continue the damage being done to our public schools and students by allowing private vouchers to drain money from our already underfunded schools,” said Rodney Ellis, the president of the NCAE, in a statement. “We believe the constitution is clear; public funds for education should be used exclusively for public schools.”
The Opportunity Scholarship Program doled out over $4.5 million in scholarship dollars last year, reports the Associated Press.
A state superior court judge had ruled school vouchers illegal under North Carolina’s constitution nearly a year ago.
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This post has been updated to include reaction to the ruling from the NCAE and PEFNC.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.