BRIEF: School Choice in the States December 2014

Colorado – Doran Moreland @Dmoreland9

Litigation over the country’s only district-created voucher program was reviewed by the Colorado Supreme Court. A ruling on the program is expected in early 2015. Parents have been vocal in their support of the program, which is being challenged by the ACLU, unions, and a group of taxpayers.

Florida – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

Last week a judge dismissed the Florida Education Association’s (FEA) lawsuit challenging Florida’s Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts program and Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Earlier in 2014, a Florida judge dismissed the original FEA lawsuit after finding that the plaintiff did not have legal standing to sue. The FEA filed an amended complaint and added new plaintiffs to a lawsuit. The amended complaint contends public schools have lost funding because of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, and that the law containing the school choice programs violates a state constitutional requirement that each piece of legislation be limited to a single subject. On Tuesday, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue. There are currently no legal challenges pending against the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts program; however, there are two pending lawsuits challenging Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

Montana – Michael Chartier @mchart1

Montana’s Great Falls Tribune newspaper explored the possibility that a private school choice program may reach Gov. Steve Bullock’s desk in 2015. When the Montana legislature met two years ago, Gov. Bullock vetoed a tax-credit scholarship program.

Ohio – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

The Friedman Foundation released an analysis of the available seats in Ohio’s voucher-accepting private schools. The study found there were 36,794 open seats in 2012-13, among schools participating in the statewide “failing schools” voucher program.

Vermont – Michael Chartier @mchart1

The Ethan Allen Institute is calling on state lawmakers to expand the state’s centuries-old voucher program, presently accessible by only 5 percent of the state’s K-12 students. Specifically, school choice supporters in Vermont are encouraging lawmakers to adopt a “universal” program, available to all families.

Wisconsin – Doran Moreland @Dmoreland9

The number of students in Wisconsin using vouchers was released, showing nearly 30,000 were participating in the state’s three voucher programs at the start of the 2014-15 school year. Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Parental Choice Program launched the modern school choice movement in 1990. In more recent years, state lawmakers expanded vouchers to include families in Racine and low-income households statewide.