State program paying for students to attend private schools

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Thousands of students across North Carolina will be able to attend private schools this fall thanks to a new state voucher program that officially launched Wednesday.

The program is called the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which gives low-income families the opportunity to attend the private school of their choice.

One of the most requested schools in the state is the Tri-City Christian Academy in High Point, according to the State Education Assistance Authority.

“I think it opens up a lot of opportunities, a lot of doors, for parents that wouldn’t have that otherwise,” said Pastor Don Davis, a member of the TCA school board.

2,300 students in the state were selected for the program through a random lottery Wednesday. The state will award each eligible student up to $4,200 a year for tuition. A representative from the State Education Assistance Authority told FOX8 that 1,893 students were wait-listed for the program this year.

“I think parents certainly have to be excited to have the opportunity to look at other options for their children instead of the school that’s closest to where their live,” said Davis.

However, many people are against the program.

“This puts taxpayers in the position of funding private education for the few and I think that’s a misuse of tax dollars. … That’s not what taxpayers want,” said former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Ward, in a statement posted on the NC Association of Educators web site.

Another concern is that many of the private schools participating are religious, so the scholarships violate the separation of church and state. The NC Association of Educators along with the North Carolina School Boards Association even filed law suits to block the program.

However, those who support the program argue that it is voluntary and it is something thousands of kids will benefit from.

“I think some people are looking for more than just the ABCs of education. They’re also looking for faith and value transmission, and that’s equally important to many parents as the basic subjects that students are learning today,” said Davis.

12 comments

  • Tim H.

    Another poor way of the government spending our tax money! My tax money should not go for a kid other than my own to attend a private school.

  • Nicole

    Don Davis, How dare you state that the difference between private and public schools is that private school teachers see it as the mission to impact lives. Why in the heck do you think public school teachers teach?? For the money?? That was a HUGE insult to public school teachers!! We work our butts off every day with a whole lot less because we DO care about our students and want to see them succeed!! You are clearly very ignorant. Maybe you should visit a few public schools and ask the teachers why they show up each day. I can guarantee it isn’t for the money!!

    • chris

      i think you misunderstood what pastor davis is saying private school teachers are paid alot less then public school teachers and make it their mission not to fail the children with the very little resources they have they dont have a quarter of the resources public teachers have and everyday teachers fail to give the knowlegde and faith and compasion they need maybe you should visit a private school and see the difference not onky in the the teachers but the students i think if a parent can not afford private schools the goverment should help since are tax money pays for public schools and the system fails everyday

  • Diane Purcell

    Something I am considering. I switched from one Guilford County school to another, due to a move. They wouldn’t transfer my child’s credits from one to the other, although both are Guilford County schools! I’m livid! My son worked hard this year but now is behind a credit due to this. Seems private school may be a better option for us.

  • nonna1

    Taxpayers should NOT pay for children to go to private school. Conversely, private school parents should NOT pay for public schools. However, all who pay taxes, regardless of their age, must pay for public schools. I HEARTILY object to taxpayers footing the bill for private schools.

    We just wrote a hefty check to pay for our grandson’s private school; he has been in private school since kindergarten. The teachers there make less money than public school teachers and they do not whine, complain or march on the capitol.

    I would not have my grandson in public school; they are cesspools of undisciplined children that teach to testing and do not expand children’s minds, creativity, soul or discipline habits. College is now requisite to obtain a job post high school because the end product of twelve years of public education is appallingly poor. The blame is always placed on the administration, the legislature or the parents – teachers are never held responsible for their ability to teach. Instead, they are given tenure, which is unheard of in the private sector where the ability to keep ones job is based on performance. The level of education displayed by public school teachers is appalling. I cannot tell you how many of my children’s papers I “graded” and returned to illiterate and ignorant teachers. Regardless of the hours they put in (during the 10 months they work,) or their lifetime medical and pension upon retirement (paid for by taxpayers while everyone else’s medical benefits stop when they stop working,) they endlessly and bitterly complain about being underpaid. They want “national average” teacher pay based on a national average, when our cost of living (NC) is below the national average.

    I’ve never once, in “x” number of years, heard a private school teacher complain – not one time.

    So, if you choose a profession and feel so put upon by it, move on. Maybe you would be happier in a private school. They don’t complain.

  • Jen B

    Again, low income people. Why Do I work again? Heck, They Get Free Health Insurance, Free Food and A Private School. No Such thing as Middle Class working people. Great Job North Carolina.

    • tam

      I agree. I understand what our government is trying to do, but it seems like more and more that the few that will work and have responsibility for their lives are holding up the vast majority, a lot of whom refuse to work, and why should they? I grew up poor and I understand what it’s like, but that just isn’t the case with many in our society. Our whole government is making it more profitable to stay at home on our rear-ends than to work for what we get. I’m just sick of the whole thing. (but it’s not going away….)

  • highpointer

    @Kennith Thomas. Yes the “poor kids” could goto Greensboro if they can come up with the rest of the money. They would also have to pass the tests to get into the school. My wife and I have worked hard to send both of of kids to Wesleyan in High Point. We saved and got a smaller home, old cars and worked hard so they could have a great education. The tax credit would have been great for us and saved us a lot of money. I have saved Guilford County $255706.00 (bhttp://www.nccivitas.org/2010/how-much-does-it-cost-educate-high-school-graduate/) by sending my kids to Wesleyan. The big thing I see is the pulbic system wastes so much money and not a great return. Wesleyan seniors (98) got more in scholarship money then High Point Central. HPC had a lot more Seniors. I believe the whole School System should go private. I bet you would get much better return on the money.

  • FaithC

    If you can not afford private school, that is what public school is for. I worked m a*ss off to keep my kids in private school. If you want your child in private school, get an education yourself, get a job and pay for it. I am sick and tired of working so welfare queens can sit home and have everything or more than I do.
    I don’t want to hear about how it will keep poor minority kids out of private school. Their parents can do the same as a lot of us middle class parents do. Work hard and pay for it.

  • news2me

    This is the height of discrimination. a Lottery for children to go to a private school..???
    Money for SOME children to go to a Private School? Whatever happened to EQUALITY??
    It is unconstitutional to give my tax money to a Private School.
    Though I have to admit….Private Schools have an ORGANIZED CURRICULUM and BOOKS…
    Public Schools are in the biggest state of CHAOS since the beginning of time.
    They DO NOT TEACH…..THEY TEST!!!
    Private School Teachers make about $15 an hour but live a lot longer.
    Oh Well……I have seen it all and am waiting for 2016…..The Politicians are using the children in the state of NC for guinea pigs with this Chaotic Common Coreless Curriculum……….I’d put my kids in a Private School if I could…but I work…

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