Low-income North Carolina families could find out by the end of the month whether they’ll get taxpayer dollars to send their children to private schools this fall.
The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority posted on its website this week that it expects around June 25 to hold the lottery to determine which of the 5,552 applicants will get “opportunity scholarships.” Families who are randomly picked in the lottery will have up to $4,200 sent to the private school they want to attend for the 2014-15 school year.
The lottery was put on hold when Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood issued a preliminary injunction in February. But the N.C. Supreme Court lifted the injunction in May, allowing the new voucher program to proceed as its constitutionality is debated in court.
Last year, the General Assembly set aside $10 million for the program, enough to give “opportunity scholarships” to about 2,400 students. To be eligible, parents have to currently have their children in a public school and meet federal income requirements for their children to receive subsidized lunches.
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Mecklenburg County had the most applications with 937. In second was Wake County with 784 applications.
The three most requested schools were Islamic and Christian schools, including Al-Iman School in Raleigh with 86 applications.
The authority is still reviewing the 5,552 applications to determine which ones are eligible for the scholarships.
The program is opposed by the majority of the state’s school districts, the N.C. School Boards Association and the N.C. Association of Educators.