In the News

As the source for parental school choice in our state, PEFNC is often asked to provide commentary on educational choice.

N.C. Association of Educators drops lawsuit against popular school choice program

By A.P. Dillon

April 26, 2023

RALEIGH — The N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) dropped its lawsuit against North Carolina’s popular Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), according to a filing with the Wake County Superior Court last week. 

“Plaintiffs hereby notice the dismissal of all claims against all Defendants,” wrote Christopher Brook, the attorney representing NCAE. “Plaintiffs have consulted with all parties regarding costs, and all parties agree that each side will bear their own costs. Defendants reserve the right to pursue costs should Plaintiffs re-file this lawsuit within one year of this filing.” 

Brook had been appointed to the N.C. Court of Appeals by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in 2019. Brook, a Democrat, ran in 2020 to retain the seat but was defeated by Judge Jefferson Griffin, a Republican.

Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) has been a consistent supporter of the OSP and has helped families navigate the program for years. PEFNC’s President Mike Long was pleased the NCAE dropped the suit. 

NC spends $133M on private school vouchers. Lawmakers are proposing much more.

By Liz Schlemmer

April 24, 2023

Now that Republicans have a supermajority in both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly, they have a lot of power to turn their priorities into reality. One of the GOP priorities this session has been school choice, including private school vouchers.

WUNC’s Will Michaels sat down with education reporter Liz Schlemmer to ask her about the state's main voucher program and where it's headed.

Choose Your School, Choose Your Future legislation proposed in House

By Victor Skinner

April 20, 2023

(The Center Square) – All North Carolina students could become eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship Program under new legislation sponsored by Republican House Speaker Tim Moore and Rep. Tricia Cotham.

Opportunity Scholarships that currently help low- and moderate-income families cover private school tuition would expand to all students through an income-based tiered system under House Bill 823, titled Choose Your School, Choose Your Future.

The legislation is sponsored by top House Republicans including Moore, of Cleveland County, as well as Cotham, formally a Mecklenburg Democrat who switched her party affiliation to join the majority last week. An identical Senate Bill 406 was introduced last month by Sens. Michael Lee of New Hanover County and Amy Galey of Alamance County, co-chairmen of the Senate Education Committee.

Cotham introduces Opportunity Scholarship expansion in NC House

By David Bass

By April 20, 2023

Newly minted Republican Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County is the primary sponsor of the House version of a bill that would dramatically expand school choice across North Carolina.

The move is significant because it signals that Cotham would be a crucial 72nd vote in the House chamber to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, is also a primary sponsor on the measure, giving it extra weight.

House Bill 823; Choose Your School, Choose Your Future; would expand the Opportunity Scholarship Program to all students in a tiered system based on household income. Under the current system, Opportunity Scholarships are only available to low- and moderate-income families. The scholarships empower families to afford tuition at the private school of their choice.

With Rep. Cotham as sponsor, bill expanding private school scholarships clears path to law

By Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan

April 19, 2023

School Choice --- in the form of publicly funded scholarships to private schools --- is being fast-tracked now that Republicans have a supermajority in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Rep. Tricia Cotham, a Mecklenburg County Republican who switched parties from the Democrats this month, is a primary sponsor of a bill expanding vouchers for private school tuition, which are known as Opportunity Scholarships and have been championed by Republicans.

Until now, the use of the scholarships has been limited, but a new bill likely to coast into law will expand the program to all students.

Head of NC teachers group drops lawsuit challenging Opportunity Scholarships

By the Carolina Journal

April 19, 2013

The leader of North Carolina’s branch of a national teachers union is dropping her lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program. The news arrives as state legislators debate expanding funding for scholarships in the next state budget.

Tamika Walker Kelly, president of the N.C. Association of Educators, and other plaintiffs in Kelly v. State of North Carolina filed a notice of voluntary dismissal Wednesday in Wake County Superior Court.

Fayetteville area leads in private school vouchers as NC may expand program

By Myron B. Pitts
The Fayetteville Observer
A North Carolina school voucher program that provides public money for students to attend private schools has found a receptive audience in Cumberland County.

NC House passes budget with support for school choice

By David Bass

April 6, 2023

School choice would continue its growth trajectory in North Carolina under a budget passed by the House April 6 in a bipartisan vote of 78 to 38.

Nine Democrats joined Republicans in supporting the spending plan for the new biennium, which expands school choice by growing private-school choice programs and charter schools.

The budget makes three changes to the Opportunity Scholarship Program, a means-tested scholarship designed to allow low- and moderate-income families to attend the private school of their choice.

North Carolina senators file universal school choice bill

By Jillian Schneider

April 3, 2023

North Carolina Republicans filed a bill last week which would make the state’s school choice program universal.

Since the bill has 30 sponsors, it already has enough votes to override a potential veto, according to Corey DeAngelis, a leading school choice advocate.

‘This budget is a mixed bag:' Breaking down what’s in the House budget for education

By Liz Schlemmer

March 30, 2023

Republican House leaders have released their initial budget proposal. Senate leadership is expected to release its budget proposal in May, and the budget process will likely continue through the summer before North Carolinians see a final state budget.

But for now, the House proposal serves as a window into Republicans’ education priorities, both in terms of state funding as well as policy measures that may get wrapped into the final budget bill.