NC Supreme Court Upholds Religious School Vouchers

Photo credit: Asheville Citizen-Times
We urge the General Assembly to defund the "Opportunity Scholarship Program"

The Secular Coalition for North Carolina is deeply disappointed in last week's North Carolina Supreme Court ruling (PDF) upholding the state's "Opportunity Scholarship Program." The partisan 4-3 decision clears the way for the diversion this school year of more than $10 million in public funds to private, predominately religious and unaccredited schools with no requirements for curriculum, certification of teachers, or minimum instructional time. 

While the majority of this public funding is going to private Christian schools such as Charlotte's Victory Christian Center School, for the 2013-14 school year the Greensboro Islamic Academy received by far the largest payout from the program ($90,000). The funds apparently helped them avoid financial trouble similar to what they experienced the previous year (a $150,000 shortfall according to NC Policy Watch), but it certainly doesn't help the state meet its constitutional obligation to ensure a "uniform system of free public schools" in North Carolina.

We strongly oppose increases in funding for this program or an expansion of the income- eligibility requirements, as some legislators have suggested, and we urge the General Assembly to defund the program completely and focus on improving secular public education in our state.