Today the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled the Opportunity Scholarship Program passed by the General Assembly in July 2013 is constitutional. The ruling is the final decision in this case. The program awards scholarships of up to $4,200 for low-income and working-class families to attend a private school of their choice.
“We are very thankful for the Supreme Court’s thoughtful decision in recognizing the constitutionality of the Opportunity Scholarship Program in North Carolina,” stated Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland). “We are elated that students currently benefiting from the scholarship, as well as future scholarship recipients, will be able to continue to achieve their educational goals through this unique opportunity.”
“Today the Supreme Court reaffirmed that education in North Carolina is about our children and their future,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). “This ruling makes clear that parents – not education bureaucrats or politicians – ought to be able to choose the educational pathway best suited to their children’s needs, and it empowers thousands of low-income families across the state to make that important choice.”
“Two-hundred and twenty-four schools have worked with parents to allow students to attend the school of their choice. Today’s court decision means that more families will have realistic access to educational options for their children,” said Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake). “We will continue to work to expand the Opportunity Scholarship Program, so more student can be placed in an educational setting that is right for them.”
During the 2014-2015 school year, Opportunity Scholarships were awarded to 1,200 students attending 224 schools. Over 1,100 of these students have reapplied, joining the 4,800 applicants for the 2015-2016 school year. Both 2015 House and Senate budgets have allocated $17.6 million for the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which will likely serve approximately 4,400 students.