Greensboro, N.C. – At its Feb. 11 meeting, the Guilford County Board of Education passed a resolution opposing the state budget bill that provides vouchers for private schools. The Board also voted to join a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina School Boards Association and other plaintiffs that challenges the program.
In July of 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a budget bill that included an initial $10 million appropriation to start a private school tuition-voucher program.
A fiscal note included with an earlier version of the voucher legislation indicated costs for the program could ultimately reach $50 million a year or more. To pay for the program, funds would be deducted from allocations to GCS and other public school districts.
The lawsuit filed by the North Carolina School Boards Association and other plaintiffs asserts that the voucher program uses public funds for non-public purposes in violation of the North Carolina Constitution, among other concerns.
The Board’s resolution addresses some of those concerns:
“WHEREAS, the voucher program created in the Budget Bill does not require participating private schools to provide students with the opportunity to receive a sound basic education, as required by the N.C. Constitution;
WHEREAS, the voucher program created in the Budget Bill does not require participating private schools to engage in non-discriminatory admissions practices;
WHEREAS, the voucher program requires the State Board of Education to reduce funding to each local board of education in an amount equal to the local board's per pupil allocation for average daily membership multiplied by the number of students who have received vouchers and were enrolled in the local board's schools during the prior semester;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Guilford County Board of Education hereby agrees to join as a plaintiff the pending litigation, captioned Reverend Robert Richardson, III, Michael and Delores Galloway, Steven W. Sizemore, and the North Carolina School Boards Association v. the State of North Carolina, the North Carolina State Board of Education, and the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority, and authorizes the attorneys engaged by the NCSBA and other plaintiffs to represent the Board of Education in the litigation, with the litigation costs to be borne by the NCSBA's Legal Assistance Fund.”