WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – The West Virginia Hope Scholarship program — an educational savings account for families that provide funding for private education — is yet again deemed constitutional.
After the Kanawha County Circuit Court ruled that the scholarship was unconstitutional back in July, the ruling was appealed, turning it over to the West Virginia Supreme Court.
On Thursday, October 6, 2022, the supreme court reversed the decision made by the county circuit court judge. The West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says it’s a major gain for those who rely on non-public education.
“This is a huge win for educational freedom right here in the Mountain State, and so I applaud the West Virginia Supreme Court for its decision to uphold the Hope Scholarship’s constitutionality,” Morrisey says. “All of us have always thought that in order for West Virginia to move forward, we need to have a strong public school system, but we also need to expand innovative private sector options for West Virginia families.”
The many in support of the action say that the scholarship is an entirely separate account that’s not taken from public schools.
However, many others disagree. Those who oppose it says the public schools funds are exactly where the money would be taken from.
“This is using public money to pay for private school expenditures,” says an attorney for the State Board of Education and the State Department of WV, Tamerlin Godley. “You can’t do it. It’s the same thing as if we tried to set up tuition schools. We will give you $4,300 in an account, and then you can go pay for whatever you want for private school expenditures. It’s a voucher.”
The attorney says that it contradicts the West Virginia Constitution in regard to public educational funding.
So far the scholarship has contributed over $4,000 per student taking the non-public school route.