High Point family helps appeal private school voucher elimination

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The appeal to continue on with the Opportunity Scholarship program includes a plea from a High Point family.

“With our daughters already starting school, making friends and developing bonds with staff, we do not want to pull them out with teachers and friends they have become so attached to,” wrote Tammy Schlicher in a letter that was included in the appeal of a Superior Court decision that puts a halt to the program.

Thursday’s Superior Court decision determined the vouchers were unconstitutional.

On Friday, the state Attorney General’s office and legislators backed an appeal that would reinstate $4,200 payments to families who just received word a few weeks ago that they had been chosen for the pilot program.

The Schlichers scrambled to enroll their two children at High Point Friends School. If the decision holds, the family may have to pay more than $8,000 to keep their children at the school.

According to court documents, 1,878 families accepted the money and may also be responsible for tuition payments that have been stopped by the court.

The other option is putting those kids in public school, something the Schlichers tried to avoid through the voucher system because of their experience last year at a nearby public school.

“They lost one of the second grade teachers last year and they did not replace her, instead they just made the class sizes bigger and that’s one of the reasons that pushed us to pursue the private school,” said Joe Schlicher.

He has a problem with those in favor of Thursday’s court ruling, arguing that the money paid out by the state is unjust.

Schlicher said the $4,200 per student is less than the average cost of close to $9,000 spent on students in the public school system.

Schlicher adds that the vouchers only cover part of the cost of private education with more expenses incurred by families compared to public schools.

“You’re not getting free or reduced lunches, you’re not getting busses picking your kids up, you have to arrange for that yourself, so there are a lot of costs that are not covered by private schools,” said Schlicher.

 

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