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Gov. Roy Cooper opposes school choice scholarships; General Assembly likely to continue program

The NC General Assembly, which returned to Raleigh on May 16, has continued to make school choice a top educational priority in the past few legislative sessions.

In the budget bill passed last session, lawmakers maintained an increase in funds available for Opportunity Scholarships, and created a new way (in addition to the existing Children with Disabilities Grant Program) for parents of children with special needs to utilize state resources through the creation of an Education Savings Account.

Despite legal opposition by Governor Roy Cooper to future funding for the Opportunity Scholarship Program, “there is little expectation that funding for these programs will change as lawmakers make adjustments to the budget,” the NC Family Policy Council reports.

In a lawsuit filed last summer, Cooper contends that because of the law requiring that forward-funding for the Opportunity Scholarship Program be included in the state’s base budget is  unconstitutional because it isn’t in line with his executive authority to propose his own budget.

“But for the unconstitutional interference by the General Assembly, the Governor would not include nearly a billion dollars in vouchers in his proposed budget during his term,.” the governor’s lawyers contend.

Charter schools that participate in the Opportunity Scholarships program and are accessible to students in northeastern counties are: Northeast Academy of Aerospace & Advanced Technologies,  Elizabeth City; Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy, Windsor;

Water’s Edge Village School, Corolla; Washington Montessori, Washington; and Bear Grass, Williamston.

Nearby private schools accepting Opportunity Scholarships are: Foreshadow Academy, Elizabeth City; Victory Christian School,

Elizabeth City; Albemarle School, Elizabeth City; Grace Montessori Academy, Elizabeth City; Tutor All School, Elizabeth City; Jarvisburg Christian Academy, Jarvisburg; Lawrence Academy, Merry Hill; New Life Academy, Elizabeth City; Heron Pond Montessori School, Kitty Hawk; and Pungo Christian Academy, Belhaven.