W.Va. Supreme Court rules Hope Scholarship constitutional; supporters and opponents react
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Days after hearing oral arguments for and against West Virginia’s Hope Scholarship program, the state Supreme Court ruled it to be constitutional.
“This was an incredible victory for educational freedom and we all support strong public schools,” W.Va. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Friday.
“It’s also critically important that we give our families the private sector options that they need that fit their children’s needs.”
The high court’s decision comes after a Kanawha County Circuit Judge ruled the opposite in July.
“We believe that the ruling, or that the entire school voucher program will siphon funds from the constitutionally mandated school fund,” Jack Tinney, who represented the opposition view said.
“[That] requires that the West Virginia Legislature fund public schools for public education and [the ruling] will be a detriment to that.”
Opponents of the Scholarship believe it adds to the list of challenges facing public schools in the Mountain State, while supporters think it serves as a motivator for all schools to be at their best to serve students.
“In private schools or in homeschooling situations, you do not have to account for children with special needs, you do not have to account for children with disabilities, you do not have to account for anti discrimination laws, you do not have to account for folks for gender or racial inequalities that all public schools must account for,” Tinney said.
“Therefore, you are siloing the most vulnerable students.”
“We want to have the best schools across the board and we want the best public schools in America, we want the best private schools in America,” Morrisey said.
“I think that competition is a really good thing and so the more the public schools keep innovating, to do better and better work for our kids, we all praise that. And then we now know that the private sector options are going to be able to flourish a little bit more, which is also very, very positive, so I view this as a win for both.”
The Supreme Court has not yet released its opinion on the ruling no details are available for when it may be released.
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