On Thursday in
The school voucher program for low-income families pays for students to attend privately run K-12 schools that do not have to meet state curriculum requirements, violating the state constitution, Hobgood said.
"Appropriating taxpayer funds to unaccountable schools does not accomplish a public purpose," he said.
Voucher advocates said they plan to appeal.
In June, 196 families in
In all, the state received 529 voucher applications from
A teachers' group and many of the state's 115 school boards challenged the voucher program.
The vouchers took away money that should go toward providing a sound education for students within the public school system, said
"In that context, we're very grateful to
Much of that money would likely have gone toward the cost of attending religious schools.
Most applicants across the state identified their top choice of private and parochial schools. Of the local schools picked most often, only
Some voucher supporters argue that the stipends help families who would otherwise have no educational option other than their local, assigned traditional public school. Some advocates for more educational options describe traditional public schools as "one size fits all."
Hobgood's ruling is a victory for the children of
"We are on cloud nine," Jewell said.
He also noted the different local options, including magnet schools. Magnet schools are traditional public schools with a specific focus, such as the arts or science.
"You don't make change by taking away resources from a struggling school, by diverting those (resources) into private schools," Jewell said.
Putting public money toward private schools would also raise issues of transparency, he said.
Public schools have certain guidelines about teacher qualifications and curricula, he said. There are set standards and regular assessments to ensure students make academic growth within the school year.
"In a private school, there's no guarantee of that," Jewell said.
"There are huge, glaring problems when you start taking public dollars and directing them to an organization that has no responsibility to report the use of those taxpayer dollars," he said. "And they don't have to take every child."
Hobgood blocked the state voucher program in February until there could be a trial.
In June, the
The program's supporters hoped an appeal would let the vouchers continue, said
"While this court decision might represent a temporary roadblock on the path towards educational freedom in
Children seeking the scholarships had to first qualify for the federal free or reduced-price school lunch program, which has an income limit of about
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