A major victory today for those of us who believe parents should have the choice to send their kids to the school they’ve determined best meets their individual needs. The state’s Opportunity Scholarship program is on! This victory is despite a huge effort by elitist North Carolina liberals who are doing everything they can to deny low-income parents this choice. Carolina Journal’s Barry Smith reports.
About 2,400 children taking part in the state’s fledgling Opportunity Scholarships program know they will receive money to help pay tuition, letting them attend private schools this fall.
On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood denied an effort by plaintiffs in the case to prohibit distribution of the Opportunity Scholarships before he rules on a motion for summary judgment in the case.
“The money is going to go out around Aug. 15,” said Renee Flaherty, an attorney for the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice, which is helping parents of the students seeking the vouchers. “All the kids [who] were awarded scholarships for this year are going to get their scholarships and attend private schools.”
Hobgood also allowed House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, to intervene as defendants in the lawsuit and help defend the program, which the General Assembly approved last year.
“This is very good news,” Flaherty said.
Wednesday’s order is in stark contrast to one Hobgood issued in February, when he imposed an injunction blocking implementation of the Opportunity Scholarships program.
In May, the N.C. Supreme Court lifted that order.
Flaherty said Hobgood’s refusal to block distribution of the scholarships was consistent with the N.C. Supreme Court’s order.
“I think Judge Hobgood felt like the Supreme Court sent him a signal that the program is constitutional,” Flaherty said.
The ruling comes just one day before the state’s chief champion of the Opportunity Scholarship program, Wake County Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, is scheduled to deliver Milton Friedman Freedom Lecture, titled Opportunity Scholarships: Perils and Promise. Details of Thursday’s speech at the John Locke Foundation can be found here.