Below is a statement from Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), regarding the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision to grant the parents’ request to stay the preliminary injunction issued by a Wake County Superior Court that suspended implementation of the Opportunity Scholarship program in February.
“Today’s historic decision vindicates the over 4,500 parents who applied for their child to receive an Opportunity Scholarship and puts parents back in the driver’s seat of their child’s education. We commend the court for allowing the Opportunity Scholarship Program to proceed and listening to the true voices of this debate, the parent-plaintiffs, who chose to stand up for their child’s fundamental right to a ‘sound, basic education’ and refused to be defined by their income level or ZIP code. These parents applied for this program, qualified for this program and now have the opportunity for their child to attend the participating private school of their choice this Fall.
Additionally, this ruling provides immediate relief to low-income and working-class families who applied for this program from across the state and also demonstrates that the parent-plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood on prevailing on the merits. When the General Assembly enacted the Opportunity Scholarship Program, it allocated only 2,400 student spaces. Parents spoke when over 5,500 student applications were received in just a 25 day period, making North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program the first school-choice program in the country to be oversubscribed in its first year. Again, we are grateful for the Supreme Court’s ruling as it will mean so much to the thousands of families who are desperate for more quality options.”
The Opportunity Scholarship Program, passed in July 2013, created scholarships of up to $4,200 for children from low-income and working-class families to attend a private school of the parent’s choice. To qualify, a child must be currently enrolled in a North Carolina public school and must reside in a household that qualifies for federal Free and Reduced Lunch (about $44,000 for a family of 4).