Raleigh (April 9, 2018) – Brian Jodice, Interim President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, released the following statement regarding today’s (Monday, April 9th) ruling by a three-judge panel that upheld funding for North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program as part of the state’s base budget. The panel ruled 2-1 including that the OSP provision “has no effect on the Governor’s recommend budget.”
“This is wonderful news for thousands of families in our state. Forward funding of the Opportunity Scholarship Program is crucial to its success,” said Jodice. “This law is constitutional and it is having a direct impact on the lives of families and children across our state every day.”
Earlier this year, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina submitted an amicus curiae brief in litigation between Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina General Assembly. The brief, officially submitted on January 31, was filed in support of the statutory requirement that Opportunity Scholarship forward-funding is included in the state’s base budget. PEFNC’s Founding President Darrell Allison also filed an affidavit in the case.
“We hope that Governor Cooper will move on from his political positioning on the Opportunity Scholarship Program and allow for low-income and working-class families in our state to continue to benefit from these critically important scholarship dollars. North Carolina is a national leader on education reform—let’s keep it that way,” added Jodice.
Established by state lawmakers in 2013, the Opportunity Scholarship Program provides low-income children with private school scholarships of up to $4,200. Just over 7,200 students currently use Opportunity Scholarships to attend over 400 nonpublic schools across North Carolina. In 2015, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the program’s constitutionality. In 2016, to meet anticipated demand, lawmakers voted to increase program funding by $10 million annually through the 2028-29 school year. In 2017, the General Assembly enacted the provision requiring that forward-funding for the program is included in the state’s base budget.