According to the NC Supreme Court’s docket list, the Opportunity Scholarships case is slated for Tuesday, February 17th*. The Opportunity Scholarships are for low-income children and the vast majority of those who applied are minority students.
The lead plaintiff is Alice Hart, of Buncombe county. Other names in the plaintiff list include some of the individuals and statements from the two major organizations filing the suit, the NCAE and NC Justice Center. NC Justice Center is currently creating public relations-style video testimonials of the plaintiffs.
The main thrust of the original complaint was that these scholarships were unconstitutional and took money from public education budgets. The complaint also calls these scholarships “vouchers”.
The original complaint did not mention objections specific to religious schools. Now it appears the plaintiffs are going that route.
The News and Record notes the large number of schools having some religious affiliation:
“Three-quarters of the schools accepting voucher students identify a religious creed.
Twenty-six of the 28 schools enrolling at least 10 students are Christian or Muslim.”
The plaintiffs filed an Amicus brief in late January 2015 which has two parts and includes religious instruction language.
Part one, “Taxpayer-Funded Private Schools Do Not Fulfill A Public Purpose” and part two, “The Constitution Does Not Require The Public To Fund Private Religious Instruction”.
The first part, “Taxpayer-Funded Private Schools Do Not Fulfill A Public Purpose”, includes the following subsets:
- The voucher program uses taxpayer dollars to support private religious instruction
- Taxpayer-funded private schools receive minimal public oversight
- Taxpayer-funded private schools exclude students on the basis of religion, disability, and other characteristics
* Due to weather, the case is postponed.
Plaintiff List for those who wish to look into who is behind the suit:
- ALICE HART
- RODNEY ELLIS (NCAE)
- JUDY CHAMBERS
- JOHN HARDING LUCAS
- MARGARET ARBUCKLE
- LINDA MOZELL
- YAMILE NAZAR
- ARNETTA BEVERLY
- JULIE PEEPLES
- W.T. BROWN
- SARA PILAND
- DONNA MANSFIELD
- GEORGE LOUCKS
- WANDA KINDELL
- VALERIE JOHNSON
- MICHAEL WARD
- T. ANTHONY SPEARMAN
- BRITTANY WILLIAMS
- RAEANN RIVERA
- ALLEN THOMAS
- JIM EDMONDS
- SASHA VRTUNSKI
- PRISCILLA NDIAYE
- DON LOCKE
- SANDRA BYRD