Below is a statement from Darrell Allison, president of PEFNC:
“The expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship Program, much needed given the more than 12,000 applications that have flooded in over the last two years, is a major win for thousands of low-income families in the state of North Carolina. I want to sincerely thank Governor McCrory, Senate President Berger, House Speaker Moore, and the members of the General Assembly for their committed, bipartisan support of this state budget.
“The final two-year budget will fund close to 6,000 student scholarships by the 2016-17 school year, up from 1,100 students in the Program’s first year (2014-15). When you consider that the first year of the Opportunity Scholarship Program was only able to utilize roughly $5 million dollars due to legal challenges, it is truly significant to see that the final budget ends with $17.6 million for 2015-16 and $24.8 million for 2016-17 — a nearly 500% increase.
“Implementing ways to help these families find the best education for their children is crucial to providing a complementary educational package intended to serve every child in North Carolina regardless of their ZIP code, income status or school they ultimately choose. I, along with thousands of families across North Carolina, thank our state leaders for their historic response which provides a hand up to students.”