Growth Slowing in Statewide Voucher Programs

payoffVoucher programs, funded directly by states for private school tuition, are yet another form of school choice.  Vouchers are now unconstitutional in Florida which was the first state to implement them. They were replaced by corporate tax credit scholarships.  In spite of the state supreme court decision, vouchers for students with disabilities have not been challenged in court.

North Carolina’s vouchers are under appeal.  New York’s legislature is currently battling over whether to fund forms of vouchers and tax credits.   The legal basis for vouchers varies due to differences in wording in state constitutions.  Florida’s constitution Bush vs Holmes clearly specified that funds must go to public schools.  A similar argument is being made in North Carolina.

The Center for Evaluation in Education Policy at Indiana University reports on private school vouchers in the four states that offer them for general education students.  These are new, rapidly growing programs that now may be slowing.  How they differ is instructive.

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Charter Schools: Climate of Corruption?

dirt-59785_640In 2012, Florida received an ‘F’ on Ethics Enforcement agencies from the Center for Public Integrity.  On the overall corruption index, Florida received a C-.

Governor Scott issued an executive order to strengthen the process.  The Florida Senate changed the conflict of interest rules for legislators in 2013-14. Bad things keep happening.  Is there a legislative cabal, or are some simply insensitive to the public interest?  There are stories to tell. Continue reading

North Carolina Voucher Case Hits Supreme Court

justiceArguments in the Hart et al vs, North Carolina were heard in the North Carolina Supreme Court on February 17th.

This is a straight forward voucher case.  The legislature voted to fund $4,200 vouchers for private schools.  There is no tax credit dodge here.  There is, however, a constitutional requirement that the state raise funds exclusively for a ‘free and uniform public school system’.

The arguments have a familiar ring.

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Confused about Voucher Lawsuits?

frog-48234_1280Florida has 3 voucher lawsuits:  Fasse et al vs. Scott et al, McCall et al vs. Scott et al, and Citizens for Strong Schools.  They all oppose Florida Tax Credit Scholarships (FTC)  to private schools.  Faase et al was just thrown out yesterday.  The other two remain in court.  The Florida League of Women Voters is a plaintiff in McCall vs. Scott.

The money is significant; it now amounts to over $900 million in FTC scholarships.  Which companies provide the money? Want to know more?

 

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One of Two Florida Voucher Lawsuits Thrown Out

One of the two Florida voucher lawsuits was thrown out today by Judge Charles Francis.  Faase et al vs. Scott et al was dismissed once before and then refiled.  The new version was deemed to be legally insufficient to sustain a finding of ‘special injury’.  This complaint was based on SB850 which was alleged to have been passed by the legislature using ‘log rolling’ strategies to combine bills to expand the tax credit scholarships and create new accounts for students with disabilities.  Click the LAWSUITS banner on the Home Page of this blog for more information.

Step Back, Take Stock

The blog is one month old.  We can celebrate a little.  Thus far we have had 4500 hits on our site, and our subscriber list is growing.  Let people know.

critical-thinking (2)It is also a good time to take a minute and think.   Are we contributing useful information on school reform issues?   What is helpful?  What is missing?  Reflect on the following list and make suggestions.  I will summarize your suggestions and respond.Continue reading

New Mexico: State auditor blasts Public Education Department over charter school oversight

from Meredith Machen, New Mexico

Charter school oversight problems are rampant.  In today’s New Mexican the State Auditor revealed a serious lack of oversight of charter schools  by the State Public Education Department (PED).

horn mages

At issue was charter school financial mismanagement and conflict of interest.  The Auditor charged that the PED was unresponsive even though the school was raided by the FBI in August.  This case highlights the struggle between local school districts vs. state control of the charter authorization and oversight process.  This is only one of 18 cases nationwide of charter educational management firms nationwide that the U.S. Department of Education, the FBI, SEC, and IRS are investigatingContinue reading

What is the Unkindest Cut of All?

Charters and traditional public schools are claiming that their funding allocations are inadequate and unfair.budget

 

Given the massive cuts in education funding, their claims are not trivial.  Their arguments, however, are different. Judges are ruling differently as well.  Based on information reported by Education Justice, a  program of the New Jersey based Education Law Center, and Access, a research institute at Columbia University, charters want facilities and traditional public schools seek fairness.Continue reading

Florida Court to Review Tax Credit Voucher Lawsuit Motion to Dismiss

Yesterday’s Sun-Sentinel editorial reviewed the history of the Florida voucher program and identified wealthy backers who contributed one-half million dollars to political campaigns supporting school choice.  The article cites legal arguments against vouchers: public dollars contributed indirectly to religious schools and the constitutional requirement that the State have a uniform system of public education.Continue reading