Advocacy groups representing parents and public education are suing North Carolina officials after the General Assembly passed a law this year allowing taxpayer money to help pay private school tuition.
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Advocacy groups representing parents and public education are suing North Carolina officials after the General Assembly passed a law this year allowing taxpayer money to help pay private school tuition.
The North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina Justice Center filed their lawsuit Wednesday in Wake County, saying the new law violates the state constitution's requirement that public money go exclusively to free, public schools.
"I find it shameful that anyone would try to stop these children from having the vouchers so they can get educated, so we can empower them and their parents, so we can see to it that they're served. That's just, that's disgusting," said Sen. Thom Goolsby.
The Republican senator also questioned the motives of the people behind the suit.
"It's the parents that want their children educated. Is that so much to ask? It's not, but to liberals it is because they want to hold on to everything and control everything and keep all the money and don't give you the performance that we should be getting."
The voucher law will allow low-income students to apply for $4,200 a year in taxpayer money to pay for private school tuition beginning in 2014. Lawmakers say they want to expand the program beyond the $10 million budgeted in the first year.
State Superintendent June Atkinson believes the voucher law doesn't hold private schools accountable and won't provide parents with enough information about what their children are learning.
"I believe it's important for our voters to read the bill and to recognize its flaws and to recognize that we could go to a place in education where it's not good for our state, not good for economic development," Atkinson said during an interview last week.
Representatives from the following private schools in New Hanover County said they plan to accept vouchers next year.
Amy Bradley School
Cape Fear Academy
Friends School of Wilmington
Pathways Middle and High School
The Point Institute
St Mark Catholic School
St. Mary Catholic School
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.
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