A North Carolina judge is blocking a new law that would have allowed taxpayer money to go for tuition at private or religious schools.
The administrator at Pathways Middle and High School in Wilmington said some low-income children in public schools could benefit from one-on-one attention that Pathways – with only 24 students – can provide.
Mary Myers, principal of St. Mark Catholic School in Wilmington, believes opportunity scholarships would be a win-win for the state and private schools, explaining the vouchers would cost taxpayers less than putting children through private schools.
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A North Carolina judge is blocking a new law that would have allowed taxpayer money to go for tuition at private or religious schools.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled Friday that awarding annual grants of up to $4,200 a year per student violated the state constitution. More than 4,000 families had applied for the grants that were scheduled to be awarded next month.
A lawyer representing two parents who want the grants says an appeal is planned.
The grants were scheduled to start in the next academic year for families meeting income requirements capped slightly above the qualifying level for the federal free or reduced-price school lunch program.
Groups representing teachers and many of the state's 115 school boards – including Columbus County Schools and Whiteville City Schools - challenged the program in two lawsuits.
In an interview Friday prior to the judge's ruling, Teresa Carroll, administrator at Pathways Middle and High School in Wilmington, said the private church-affiliated school was planning to accept the vouchers.
She said some low-income children in public schools could benefit from one-on-one attention that Pathways – with only 24 students – can provide.
"They fall between the cracks so to speak, and you need to be able to minister to those students, as well as students who can afford to come," said Carroll.
Mary Myers, principal of St. Mark Catholic School in Wilmington, explained about 300 of the children in the parish can't afford to attend her school.
"So we feel this is a wonderful opportunity for those families who would really like to attend a Catholic school but might not have the financial means to do so," she said about the voucher program.
Myers believes the opportunity scholarships would be a win-win for the state and private schools, explaining the vouchers would cost taxpayers less than putting children through private schools.
"It kind of relieves the financial burden from the public schools and allows them to have a little bit smaller classroom sizes, there's a lot of overcrowding going on, but it also helps us too because it boosts our enrollment and gives us a little bit of extra funds to educate children," said Myers.
Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.
Friday, March 7 2014 8:10 AM EST2014-03-07 13:10:59 GMT
SWANNANOA, N.C. (AP/WECT) - State Sen. Martin Nesbitt, who this week stepped down as minority leader because of illness, has died. He was 67. Senate Democratic Caucus Director Ford Porter said NesbittMore >>
Just days after stepping down as the Senate Minority Leader in the General Assembly, state Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D-Buncombe) passed away from stomach cancer.More >>
Wednesday, March 5 2014 8:03 AM EST2014-03-05 13:03:49 GMT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina state Sen. Martin Nesbitt has stepped down as the Senate's minority leader because of a recent medical diagnosis. Sen. Dan Blue is taking his place. The Senate DemocraticMore >>
State Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D-Buncombe) has stepped down from his position of Minority Leader because of a health issue. Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake) will be filling the role.More >>
Sunday, March 2 2014 10:02 AM EST2014-03-02 15:02:31 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A flurry of final-day filings on Friday added candidates to races for seats in Washington DC, Raleigh and southeastern North Carolina. New Hanover County Commissioner JonathanMore >>
Several last-minute filings set up primary challenges for candidates seeking office in Raleigh and Washington, DC. Nearly all Sheriffs in southeastern North Carolina will also have primary challenges in 2014.More >>
Friday, February 28 2014 12:00 AM EST2014-02-28 05:00:12 GMT
FLORENCE, SC (WECT) – Will Breazeale, the 2008 Republican nominee for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District seat, has decided not to run for the same office in 2014. In a news release sent out lateMore >>
Will Breazeale, who won the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District in 2008, has decided not to make another run for the office in 2014.More >>
Thursday, February 27 2014 8:05 AM EST2014-02-27 13:05:29 GMT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - State House Speaker Thom Tillis embraced the Republican agenda he helped push through North Carolina state government as he filed officially for the U.S. Senate. It's the same agendaMore >>
House Speaker became the latest Republican candidate to file paperwork and run for a seat in the United States Senate. Two Libertarian candidates also signed up, bringing the total number of candidates to nearly a dozen.More >>
322 Shipyard Boulevard
Wilmington, NC 28412
Main Phone Number: (910) 791-8070
Newsroom: (910) 791-6681