NC judge blocks taxpayer money to private schools

EMERY P. DALESIO
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A North Carolina judge is blocking a new law that would have allowed taxpayer money to go for tuition at private or religious schools.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled Friday that awarding annual grants of up to $4,200 a year per student violated the state constitution. More than 4,000 families had applied for the grants that were scheduled to be awarded next month.

A lawyer representing two parents who want the grants says an appeal is planned.

The grants were to start in the next academic year for families whose children qualified for the federal free or reduced-price school lunch program, about $44,000 for a family of four.

Taxpayers and groups representing teachers and many of the state's 115 school boards challenged the program in two lawsuits.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Private / Religious schools should be running from this money. As soon as the first dollar is accepted, by a private / religious school it will have to cease teaching religion and have to accept the Common Core program that has begun to erode our, public, schools from the inside out.

All of the silly, wasteful, fraudulent, and political policies that are strangling our, public schools, will be attached to the first Government Money accepted by a private / religious school.

NOT having to abide by the same rules as the, public, schools is what makes the private / religious schools so successful.

Wilmington Observer

After playing around with the math, I find myself somewhat comfortable with the grant concept. A couple of my thoughts on this are as follows:

- Families with kids in either public or private schools are subject to the same tax liabilities for public education, so that's a wash.

- The only families that would be eligible for grants are the ones already eligible for school lunch programs, not wealthier families with more available options. Excluding a couple of possible crazy exceptions, none of these families would be sending their kids to private schools because they simply couldn't afford it.

- The grants would give some of these families just enough incentive to make the change to private education. The rest of whatever tuition costs were involved would come out of the families’ own pockets.

- In 2012-2013, NC spent an average of $8,433 per student in public education (the national average by the way, was $11,068, so NC’s more than a little behind). The maximum grant amount is up to $4200, which means that many, if not most grants would be less than $4200. Mathematically, that means that for every kid in NC who can be incentivized to switch from public to private education with a grant, it will save the state a minimum (and probably more) of $4233 per student to ensure that they’re properly educated. That's a very significant expenditure reduction.

In summary: The state’s goal of ensuring that all NC students are adequately educated is achieved and the total state expenditure to do that is considerably reduced with zero sacrifice in educational quality. When the state spends less, the taxpayer pays less.

Yes, I know school boards don’t like it because it potentially reduces their sacred, and to be protected at all costs budget, public school teachers don’t like it because they feel it potentially jeopardizes their job security and some others don’t like it because some private schools have religious affiliation (so just take those schools out of the equation). Regardless of all that, the math seems to really like it and I’m feeling pretty comfortable with the math.

You state that an average of $8,433 is spent per student in N.C. How much of that average, which covers the least to the greatest amount spent per student, is spent on failing students? When you total up the costs for remediation, tutors, curriculum materials, testing materials, retesting, summer school teachers, facilities, and transportation, it appears to me the lion's share of education monies are going to educate the least capable and least productive segment of the school population. Before you choke, let me just tell you, I'm stating what I know to be true. A fair education can be obtained in the public schools if parents are willing to work with their students and educators and not expect the schools to do it all. Public schools are too busy greasing the squeaky wheels and trying to avoid a riot to pay attention to the kid who goes every day and does what he or she should do. Let me just say that advocating for your child doesn't mean pushing and bribing and bullying the football coach, band director or others to jockey your kid's way to the top. It means spending time supervising their education. Develop your own reading list of materials. They won't read the real classics unless you do. Pay for online classes in math to supplement the scant mathematical concepts they're taught and forget after the test. Take them on field trips to historical sites and museums. If parents take responsibility for their children's education, they may graduate barely literate. Protect them from the sexual predators in the public schools. Talk to them about your faith, morals, your family and your expectations. If you leave any of those topics to the schools or the church, you will have a hellion on your hands. Spend the money and you won't be sorry. Compare these costs to what parents spend on a private school education and it's a drop in the bucket. The public schools can't take a stand against anything or for anything because anything goes. The most incompetent teachers with the lowest standards often get the raises, tenure and a spot in the central office because that is where it's believed they'll do the least harm. These are the people setting the policy and direction for our school systems. I wish I could have afforded to have sent my children to an accredited private school or that a charter school had been available. I'd gladly spend the money if I had it. A tax incentive would have helped.

You state that an average of $8,433 is spent per student in N.C. How much of that average, which covers the least to the greatest amount spent per student, is spent on failing students? When you total up the costs for remediation, tutors, curriculum materials, testing materials, retesting, summer school teachers, facilities, and transportation, it appears to me the lion's share of education monies are going to educate the least capable and least productive segment of the school population. Before you choke, let me just tell you, I'm stating what I know to be true. A fair education can be obtained in the public schools if parents are willing to work with their students and educators and not expect the schools to do it all. Public schools are too busy greasing the squeaky wheels and trying to avoid a riot to pay attention to the kid who goes every day and does what he or she should do. Let me just say that advocating for your child doesn't mean pushing and bribing and bullying the football coach, band director or others to jockey your kid's way to the top. It means spending time supervising their education. Develop your own reading list of materials. They won't read the real classics unless you do. Pay for online classes in math to supplement the scant mathematical concepts they're taught and forget after the test. Take them on field trips to historical sites and museums. If parents take responsibility for their children's education, they may graduate barely literate. Protect them from the sexual predators in the public schools. Talk to them about your faith, morals,your family and your expectations. If you leave any of those topics to the schools or the church, you will have a hellion on your hands. Spend the money and you won't be sorry. Compare these costs to what parents spend on a private school education and it's a drop in the bucket. Those parents are already doing those things and more. They know the public schools can't take a stand against anything or for anything because anything goes. They know the most incompetent teachers with the least morals get the raises, tenure and a spot in the central office because that is where it's believed they'll do the least harm.

IF you take $4200 from public expenditure and then take the expenditure and grant the money to private schools you still have the expenditure.
A - there's not enough private schools to make a huge dent in the peripheral costs of running a huge school district.
and
B - most parents will not like the idea of having to bring their kids to school because they are now currently leaving their kids home while they go to work so the schools bring them in and bring them home.

A long way down the road I see a NC Constitutional amendment vote being proposed to allow state grant funding for non-public schools.......

Vog

You're actually taking $8433 from public expenditure and then putting $4200 back into it for a net savings of $4233, at a minimum.
A - not enough schools to make a dent in a district's budget, but those dents are emotionally treated like sacred cows.
and
B - most parents don't like bringing their kids to school? At the elementary school near me, parents in their SUVs line up for over three blocks in the afternoon to pick up their kids after school.

I'd like to see that NC amendment happen. The math says it's a practical idea.

I's not convinced - why? So far charter schools are using either discarded public school buildings or existing building they are leasing. What happens if a charter school has to build? Ah, then we have a situation like Wilmington Christian Academy -a great school but far out of the reach of most - even with a stipend or grant. They have to pay a mortgage but also get a break on taxes. By the way, why should a religious school get taxpayer money when they pay no property taxes.......
Why does NH County need this money? Well there has been a population boom in this area and they need to build more schools. Can charter schools keep up with the demand? I doubt it. I am also not convinced that they provide a better education.
As for parents bringing kids to school? I agree there's hundreds that do. but when 6 school buses rolling with 60 kids per bus (for elementary runs) just proves the vast majority do rely on school buses.
In any event the need for money is driven by increases in student population which unfortunately increases the need for buildings, buses, and more teachers. In the private sector they would pass those costs on to their consumers (the children's parents) - not the population as a whole.
One more thing. Why do you support government funds going to private for profit enterprises? Because the parents get to choose?

Vog

From the NC Constitution....

"Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, libraries, and the means of education shall forever be encouraged....unless you are commie loving Judge Hobgood, then you can ignore that."

A huge victory for statist. They will continue to keep kids in poverty and low performing school right where they are.

Quit letting our politicians tear us apart by arguing.....put it on a ballot to see if people see it more beneficial to support public or charter schools....

Republicans are always crying about spending and waste. Well what do you think of their wasted time and money on passing unconstitutional legislation. From Day-Care to Public Education and from Abortion to voting rights all their work to adopt things that only hurt North Carolina has proven to be illegal! I also point out that their stance on not allowing thousands of low income citizens access to Health Care through expansion of Medicaid is or should be criminal. Maybe the Republicans ought to hire a good lawyer instead of Phil Berger. A good lawyer would understand the law and wouldn't waste time and money on criminal legislation.

... Hyperbolical: A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect.
... Bloviation: A style of empty, pompous political speech.

Got to hand it to you; you're always 100% consistent in sticking to your extremist viewpoints. Not many individuals can maintain that level of extreme focus on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, extremism, be it liberal or conservative, always starts with a premise that's only partly true and then exaggerates it. That makes it easy to refute.

In one paragraph, you've managed to define GOP legislation as "unconstitutional" then exaggerated that into "illegal" and then exaggerated that into "criminal". Now that is a most excellent "hyperbolical bloviation"! If that was actually your intent, you have succeeded most admirably. :-)

Meanwhile, back in the real world, everyone already knows that just because one judge has ruled that the grant law violates NC's state constitution, it doesn't really mean that that's already engraved in stone. That's a half truth. It's simply the beginning of a legal dialog that will ultimately play out to a final resolution that has yet to be determined.

And as to the "illegal" and "criminal" definitions? Very amusing to read, but totally frivolous.

So Mr T's posts are?
Hyperbloviatical????????

"Horse dung" is more easily said.

And Chef - one should take some time reading the State constitution and laws to try to disseminate "good law" from political posturing. Both parties are good at the posturing part.
But overall he needs to take a deep breath and watch the Judiciary play this out. My guess is this will be deemed unconstitutional based upon my limited understanding of the NC Constitution, and associated General Statutes. But one must keep in mind we have lawyers, elected, and non-elected Judges and politicians involved, so this will drag on......

Vog

I pity the fool that don't know electorates vote for their representation. Which means, the majority of North Carolinians believe, you and you alone are responsible for your health care, including how you pay for that service.

It is the Democrats, who have spent countless hours upon hours spinning the lies of government dependency, mean while throwing good money after bad on poor legislation like the alleged affordable health care act, trying to force some sort of belief of "unity" down the throats of folks who don't want to be your friend or get to know you and making sure there is nothing "affordable" about the affordable health care act.

If the ACA was so great, why did not one Republican Senator vote in support of it? I will tell you why. They knew it was not in the best interest of Americans.

And, if the ACA is the life boat for the poor of America, then why the postponement of employer mandate but not individual mandate? I will tell you why. Just another Democrat tactic to increase voter base while collecting taxes from folks who do not believe in it or agree with it.

That is not leadership. That is despotism. That is tyranny. That is what leads countries into civil war.

Mr. T should consider the following"
1.) Citizens who pay taxes should have a say in how the money is spent on education. It is their money.
2.) The government should not be in the abortion business, which is equivalent to murdering millions of children. We do not live in China.
3.) The expansion of Medicaid to those who pay no taxes(Obamacare)places an unfair tax burden on those taxpayers who do, and lowers the standard of health care for all.
Sorry liberal, I disagree.

If they're going to give money to charter schoolsm which to me are private schools, then others should be able to get it. ALL should be held accountable for expenditures, which charter schools are not.

NC schools suck and have for a very long time(yes, even under the Democrates). Why wouldn't you if you could not want to better educate you kids? The money that is give through these is about half of what the school system gets, so the school still gets 4200 per kid and the kid isn't taking up space in their system.

Another thing it isn't the rich that is getting the money it is the family whose children qualified for the federal free or reduced-price school lunch program.

So, yes the school broad hates this, because it takes money out of their pockets. Think of the waste there is in education. Why do we need 100 plus school boards in this state? Look at the wasted duplicate position we have. This money could be used to pay teachers better and up the standards. So, as long as the public school system fails at educating the kids, you will find good parents out there looking for a better place to put their kids.

"Why do we need 100 plus school boards in this state?"
Because state law and our state constitution says we will?

That same constitution that says the state government WILL PROVIDE for the education for the kids at taxpayer expense, for GOVERNMENT schools, not private, not charter, not religious but government schools ONLY.

Now, on the flip side I also don't believe that higher pay equates to higher test scores - and I have never believed that. The problem with our education system is that it's "results" are impacted by several factors. Parent involvement (and lack thereof) is among one of the leading causes of poor testing scores. Just look at the outcry over making up snow days!! "Don't interfere with our vacation plans", "Don't make in inconvenient for us."
Puh-lease parents! Increase the school year from its current length of 185 to 200 days - its ONLY three weeks!! Let's get serious about education. Lets downplay the peripherals and concentrate on the sciences, math and technology arenas.
Teachers are underpaid here but my thoughts on this are as follows:
Yes give them all a raise even the lowest paid teachers are below where other states are - BUT - as we get closer to the national average then start tying in future pay increases to student performance but this should NOT be all inclusive because as stated above - if a parent doesn't care, the teacher should not pay the price for that.
It is a very tough subject to address and I hate the thought of teaching to a test result (to insure the teacher gets a raise). In my mind a teacher can manipulate his/her syllabus and teach to a test to get a raise and the kids be worse off educationally speaking.
But again, "we" have looked at education as nothing more than glorified babysitting for far too long.......we need to get serious too.

Vog

State schools stink Revolution Abandon is next as we begin to defund the joke of America's armpit , the educational system - harboring the dumbing down of the United States.

jj---you only hate NC schools because you obviously didn't pay attention when you were in there and can't even properly write complete paragraphs.
The money needs to go to public schools so they can have the proper supplies and educational tools to be their best. They aren't presently "failing" to educate children. Where does the poverty come from you mentioned in your remark about free lunches etc? The parents? Everyone does their best and not all can afford ,nor do they want, their kids in private school. Invest in public schools and their fine teachers. I have known many major addicts and losers who came out of private schools (as well as public schools) There is no guarantee either way that a kid will grow up to be successful. Wake up.

If parents want their kids to go to Charter or Private schools then the parents should pay for that.. If you think that there is something wrong with the public school then you need to help fix it.. I volunteered and Sub at the Northern School in Brunswick County. I helped with PTA, Library activities, Testing and anything else they need help with. When I didn't like something that was going on I let the school know and it was talked about til we all agreed. I did this for over 20 years.. Working at my job and subbing at the Leland Schools... Get a life and pay for your childs education if you don't like the Public Schools.

my child is at a private school, I should not have to have any of my tax dollars going to educate your child in a public school.

Since I don't drive on the road that goes by your house I shouldn't have to pay taxes for that. Since the police or fire dept have never been to my house I shouldn't have to pay taxes for that. Since you can't figure it out, I'll tell you. They're state and local taxes that go to fund whatever the elected state and local governments choose to spend them on. People who have no children at all still pay taxes that support PUBLIC Education. With your intelligence level, I'm surprised you were able to acquire a job that pays you enough to afford to send your child to private school.

I live on a private rd. so not 1 penny of your tax dollars go towards their maintenance. I don't mind paying taxes for a service I one day MAY need (e.g. fire and police).

The government should not be in the business of attempting to educate children.

You must have been a public education graduate because they're is a contraction of they are, you should have used there are....as you put it "you dummy"!

Good day.

The "they're" could have just been a typo. It's just a matter of how the brain works when someone is typing. You really should make sure that your grammar is correct when you are criticizing others for their mistakes.

Let me amend my previous statement. Since odds are I'll never use the publicly maintained road that leads to your private road I shouldn't pay taxes toward it. Better? Despite my grammatical error, my point remains true. We all pay taxes for services we may never use or feel are necessary. Public education is not one of those services. It benefits ALL whether you or your children ever attend a public school. That firefighter, policeman or soldier you don't mind paying taxes to support? At least a 90% chance THEY'RE public school educated. Hire a plumber or a carpenter? Same deal. Need an attorney? Yup, public schools (and I'm betting a state supported University to boot). That food service worker who prepared your lunch? BINGO. The list goes on and on. So tell me again how you receive no benefit from those public schools part of your tax dollars are going to?

Good Day, Dummy.

You make an excellent point. My parents have paid for public school all of their working lives and never had a child in public school. We are all grown and they are still paying taxes that fund public schools.

Please see my response to "exactly". That should answer all your questions regarding the use of tax dollars for public schools whether or not you or your child attend one.

Good Day.

I don't know if you could tell or not, but I was agreeing with you.

No, I couldn't see which comment you were replying to. Plus, I'm sure neither one of us is used to agreeing with the other. See? We eventually found some common ground :)