Nationally, NC ranks 48th in the amount spent annually per student in its public school
system. With the “Opportunity Scholarship Act”, NC legislators propose to remove $90
million from the already under funded public school system in order to issue $4200
vouchers to a limited number of students for use in enrolling in private schools.
From a list of 554 private NC schools (222 elementary, 30 secondary and 302 combined
levels), tuitions ranged from $1440 to $46,100 per term. Of those schools, 377 were of
religious affiliation, with only a few Evangelical Christian schools offering tuitions under
$4200. Even a survey by the conservative John Locke Foundation found that average
day school tuitions exceed the proposed voucher amount.
The distribution of private institutions varies widely from one county to another with one
county having no private schools at all. A limited number of vouchers will be issued in
order of application not by degree of need. These factors and the possibility of
segregation by income and race open the “OSA” to court challenges since the NC
Constitution forbids the use of tax dollars for private use.
Unlike the public school system, private school teachers are not required to meet
accreditation standards. This also applies to curriculum. Public schools are required to
accept every student, private schools are not. The voucher system makes no provision for
the expense of uniforms or transportation.
In addition to undermining the woefully inadequate existing public school system,
voucher programs have already been proven to provide no better education results as is
demonstrated by the oldest running voucher program in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
Therefore, the NC Democratic Party recommends that citizens make clear to their
legislators that this is a costly, unnecessary and destructive program which we cannot