David Broyles Staff Reporter
December 27, 2013
The Mount Airy Board of Education recently joined the Surry County School Board and others around the state in opposing a new law that allows some state residents to apply for grants to help pay for their children to attend private schools.
The local board approved a resolution supporting a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina’s new voucher law.
The voucher law the board referred to is Senate Bill 402 which was passed by the General Assembly in July and included a provision appropriating $10 million to provide school vouchers. Board Chairman Wendy Carriker told the group it had been reported that a fiscal note prepared for an earlier version of the legislation indicated the Assembly’s intent to increase annual appropriation for the program to $50 million per year.
Carriker said the voucher program does not require participating private schools to engage in non-discriminatory admission practices and said it requires the State Board of Education to reduce funding to each local board of education in an amount equal to the local board’s per pupil allocation for average daily membership multiplied by the amount of students who receive vouchers and were enrolled in the local board’s schools in the prior semester.
The lawsuit was filed last week in Wake County Superior Court. Carriker told her fellow board members the legislation, which takes effect in the 2014-2015 school year, would allow a private school to receive up to $4,200 in public funding for each eligible student.
The suit was filed by four individual taxpayers. Three of these persons have children attending a public school. The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) is also part of the group filing the suit. The NCSBA is a non-profit membership association representing all 115 boards of education in the state and the Board of Education of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.
Parts of the complaint assert public dollars are being used for a non-public purpose outside of the constitutionally required “general and uniform system of free public schools,” diversion of public dollars from the State School Fund and creating a system of selective secondary educational opportunities which deny students equal opportunities.
In an earlier portion of the meeting, honors earned in district competition by the MAHS Health Occupation Students of America, or Future Health Professionals, group was recognized by the board.
“We have a lot to celebrate in our school district,” said Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little. “Our students astound me every month with their talents and accomplishments.”
Students honored for HOSA District performances included a third-place finish in the HOSA Bowl by team one, which consisted of Mindy Benfield, Blake Bond, Taylor Bouma and Dalton Mayes. First-place honors were captured by MAHS HOSA Bowl team two. The members of this team were Sarah Smith, Alex Bateman, Chelsea Michelle Carter and Emily Snow. Jordan Penn was second in extemporaneous health poster competition with Brooke Moore and Austin Juno finishing in the top 10 in this competition.
Rachel Evans finished in the top 10 in researched persuasive speaking. Katie Hicks and Madison Thomas of Career Health display team one also finished in the top 10. Will Zeller and Hailey Jessup of Career Health Display Team three finished third.
Creative Problem Solving team number one finished in the top 10. This team included Elizabeth Juno, Kristin Chandler, Laura Beth Gough and Maddy Cutler. Team number two in the Creative Problem Solving competition finished second. This team’s members were Madeline Gammons, Olivia Jessup, Randy Simmons and Chelsey Baker.
Cristi Mabe was third in the medical math competition and CPR Team one took first place. The members of this team were Landon Horton and Landon Mumford, CPR Team number two finished in the top 10. The members of this team included Clay Welch and Andrew Jones. CPR Teams 3-6 also finished in the top 10. Members of these teams are Brianna Tomchick, Laiken Shelton, Jarred Jenkins, Kristin George, Jessica Escutia, Juan Escutia and Emily Jarrell.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.