RALEIGH – Below is a statement from Darrell Allison, President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), regarding the decision by Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood to grant a permanent injunction on the Opportunity Scholarship Program. There will be an expedited appeal filed to a higher court to stay the permanent injunction which would allow the Program to continue until an ultimate ruling could be reached on the Program’s constitutionality.
“While this court decision might represent a temporary roadblock on the path towards educational freedom in North Carolina, I believe it’s just that – temporary. The Supreme Court overturned a previous temporary injunction ruling from this same court in May and I am confident that a higher court will do the same in this case. We’re going to continue to fight for a parent’s right to choose the educational setting that works best for their children – by any means necessary.
Today’s ruling strikes at the heart of what thousands of North Carolina families have been fighting for over the past several months. With nearly 2,000 already enrolled and more than 300 private schools registered to educate these students, there is no doubt that the families, for whom this program is targeted, desperately desire this program. The Opportunity Scholarship Program is offering parents choices where none have existed before and is levelling the playing field when it comes to our state’s most disadvantaged children. While we are not surprised by the lower court’s ruling given Judge Hobgood’s initial ruling on the preliminary injunction, it is difficult to accept the idea that a certain number of children will be forced to languish in an educational setting that isn’t working for them. The fact that certain factions within North Carolina are threatened by what the Opportunity Scholarship Program does is disappointing but we’re confident that the program will ultimately be found to be constitutional.”
The Opportunity Scholarship Program, passed in July 2013, creates scholarships of up to $4,200 for low-income and working-class families to attend a private school. To qualify, a child must be currently enrolled in a North Carolina public school and reside in a household that qualifies for federal Free and Reduced Lunch (about $44,000 for a family of 4).
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