Ep. 161: Legal Updates with Leslie - MT, TN, CT, OH, NV, D.C. - EdChoice

Ep. 161: Legal Updates with Leslie – MT, TN, CT, OH, NV, D.C.

February 20, 2020

In today’s episode of EdChoice Chats, our Vice President of Legal Affairs Leslie Hiner discusses recent school choice litigation across the country, including her recent visit to the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments in the Espinoza case.

Jen Wagner: Hello, and welcome to another episode of ‎EdChoice Chats. Our legal podcast today will be with our VP of Legal Affairs, Leslie Hiner, who’s also the head of our Legal Defense and Education Center, otherwise known as LDEC. Thank you for joining us, Leslie.

Leslie Hiner: Thank you, Jen.

Jen Wagner: All right. Well, we are going to kick it off. We have a huge agenda of cases to talk about. There’s a lot going on in the legal world, but the big kahuna is obviously the Espinoza case. Leslie, you got to go out to the Supreme Court and be in the courtroom during the oral arguments, so tell us about that.

Leslie Hiner: I am very happy to tell you about my day in the court. I’ve been a lawyer for a long time, and lawyers talk about going to the U.S. Supreme Court, but few actually go there. We just hear the stories about it. I’d just like to tell anyone who’s listening to this podcast that if you have the opportunity to go to the U.S. Supreme Court and sit there and listen to the oral arguments in any kind of case, it is well worth the effort. What I gained from that experience was some real insight into the justices and their questions, and why they asked questions that they did, and the intensity of their questions, and their body language. All of that was really helpful to me in trying to understand what may be going on in their minds in the case.

With that, as to Espinoza, I will say that I was not surprised by some of the first questions that were asked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in particular, Justice Sotomayor also. Happy to report these were questions that our person giving oral argument, Dick Komer, had practiced, so some questions were predictable. The law can be fairly clear in this area of First Amendment.

But then we got into some questions that were not quite as predictable when Justice Breyer began asking questions. For a while at the court, the questions turned around funding of private schools. The Espinoza program and any kind of voucher program does not fund private schools. They have never funded private schools. These programs fund parents, who then make a decision about how they want to use that education funding for their child, which private school or, in the case of ESAs, which kind of educational services the parent wants to access.

It wasn’t until Justice Alito spoke up, and he started asking questions along that line. But then Justice Kavanaugh was the one who came in and saved the day. Now, Justice Kavanaugh is new. From my perspective, I didn’t really know exactly how he would be on this issue. It was predicted that he would be favorable. But really, until you actually see a judge in action and hear the questions, you don’t really know.

Justice Kavanaugh swooped in and said, “Wait a minute, so doesn’t this money actually go directly to the parents, then the parents are the ones who make the decision of whether to send their child to a private secular school or a private religious school?” The answer, of course, is yes, and thank you very much for saying that. I’m also happy to report that Justice Kavanaugh clearly understands the process of these programs and was able to say so very succinctly. That was very helpful to us.

Now, there’s one other part about oral argument that I think it’s important for people to know. The person who argued on behalf of the parents on the Espinoza side in this case was Dick Komer from the Institute for Justice. Now, Dick Komer is retired.

Jen Wagner: Well, sort of, right? He came out of retirement just for this.

Leslie Hiner: He did. He came out of retirement just for this, and that really speaks to his love for the mission, and his loyalty to the parents and to this cause. I would be remiss if not to say a big, big thank you goes out to Dick Komer, who is really exceptional in oral argument.

In the close of oral argument, he summed it up by saying very clearly these school choice programs empower parents, and that’s the point. If the parents choose a religious school, it’s up to them, and they should have that choice, if that’s the choice that they have decided is best for their children and best for their family. Dick was able to state that point to the court very clearly, so I felt pretty good about that.

Jen Wagner: Good. Well, and he’s an amazing orator, and we were lucky to have him come out of retirement. We’d always want to say a big thank you to the Institute for Justice, longtime partners of ours here at EdChoice in working on school choice litigation for the last couple decades, really.

This case we’ve talked before a lot about could be big for school choice. It could be very narrowly ruled. We will know in the next… Let’s see, it’s mid-February right now, so we’re going to know in the next three months or so how the court decides. Did you get any indication? Because the media reports were pretty fair and balanced that the…

Leslie Hiner: They were.

Jen Wagner: … justices were asking pointed questions, didn’t really tip their hands. Do you have a feeling on how this is going to go, or are we just going to wait with bated breath?

Leslie Hiner: Well, as I tell everyone, going back to my days when I was litigating in private practice, I used to tell my clients, “Every time you go into court, it’s a 50-50 crapshoot. Maybe you’ll win, maybe you won’t.” I actually feel no different about any court.

But in this case, I will say that, based on the questions, and I’d say, even more than that, based on what you could tell was the justices’ understanding or lack of understanding of certain issues, many attorneys who watch the court on a regular basis think that we will get some kind of a win out of this. It’s possible that Justice Breyer may be supportive, or at least I think he may write his own opinion because he raised a separate point that he was pretty strong on, which was great. Justice Kagan, I think, could go either way on this case.

Justice Thomas, as usual, did not ask any questions. The Chief Justice, as usual, said he prefers a narrow decision, so no surprises there. Justice Alito and Justice Kavanaugh, they really got a little bit emotional about some of the points, in our favor, I’d say. I don’t think that Justice Ginsburg is going to be with us, but her questions were really good. She’s a good jurist. And probably a big no for Justice Sotomayor. When you do the math on all of that, I think that it’s more likely than not that we’ll get a favorable decision.

Now, the bigger question is, what kind of decision? Will it be narrow, narrowly tailored to Montana specific? I don’t think so. I think that it will go beyond Montana because the question that has been presented to the court is a question that would apply to all states. It’s a much larger constitutional principle, so I think it goes beyond Montana.

But what everyone is wondering is whether it will be a big enough decision to say that all of these Blaine Amendments, all of the other amendments in state constitutions that limit the ability of private religious entities to centrally participate in public life, will those be overturned or considered to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment? The answer to that question is the one that we await. That said, I’ve been trying to tell people this, that it’s very possible that this ruling could go that far, and suddenly we’ll see a lot of opportunity in a lot more states, or not.

Jen Wagner: It’s a 50-50 crapshoot.

Leslie Hiner: Yeah. I don’t think planning for victory is necessarily the best course of action, but rather planning for a decision going either way is probably more sensible.

One of the things that came out of the hearing, which I think was really important, is that when the justices were talking about school choice, they were not talking about limited school choice. They were talking about school choice for all children. They didn’t talk about school choice being limited by a child’s parents’ income. They didn’t talk about school choice being limited by geography, where you live, or any of that. It was a very pure conversation about all children in the country. That’s something that I think will hold through the decision.

For anyone who is thinking about this case and thinking about the possibilities in their own states going forward, I would encourage people to think about this in the most universal way, that every child in your state has certain rights under the Constitution, like we adults do as well, but the ruling may well address itself to all of the children in the state being able to have an equal option to access any school that the parent determines is right for them.

Jen Wagner: That would be remarkable, and what we here at EdChoice have fought for the past 25 years. It honestly sets us apart from a lot of the other national organizations in that we are promoting universal access to educational opportunity, regardless of how much you make, how much your parents make, where you live, where you’re assigned.

But I think the one thing that we have learned in this movement, and I think it’s probably a bit of a cautionary tale to anyone who is looking at Espinoza or who has looked at past decisions like Janus, and said, “Oh, once the court rules, everything is going to go this way or that way.” It’s very slow-moving. The fact that the court even took this case is significant, and that they talked about universality, or they didn’t talk about it being only applicable in special cases. I think what it sounds like the message is to folks out there is don’t expect anything earth-shattering. Even if we get something that’s earth-shattering and beneficial for the movement, it’s going to continue to take years, if not decades, to get choice where it needs to be for all families.

Leslie Hiner: That’s right. I’m sure there will be work for all of us to do afterwards, regardless of how that decision is written. Maybe that’s the message for people today. What we should all be planning on is, oh, let’s say along about July 1, we know we’ll have a decision by then, let’s all plan to get together and decide our next steps. That is for certain. That’s what we should do.

Jen Wagner: Yeah. The reality is there are, every day that goes by, more and more organizations, groups, parent groups that are advocating for educational opportunities, so I like it. Let’s plan a good, old summer. Maybe we can have a barbecue. We can all get together…

Leslie Hiner: I like that.

Jen Wagner: … talk about Espinoza. I’m saying that now because it’s snowing and gross outside in mid-February here in Indiana. No, I think that’s a great message to take away.

In the vein of slow-moving things, I feel like we should move to our next topic, which is also out in D.C., and that’s something you’ve been really intimately involved in the last year and a half or so, which is the IRS guidance on charitable giving. I think this is a story that really… You’ve been quoted in many national publications, but the story itself seems to have slid under the radar, and the potentially devastating effect that the IRS guidance on charitable giving has been having and could continue to have on scholarship programs at the state level that rely on charitable contributions. Tell us a little bit about how you’re continuing to be involved in that and what’s next in that fight.

Leslie Hiner: Yes. Sometimes the wheels of justice move very slowly, and the wheels of the Department of Treasury can move even slower. This issue first arose in the summer of 2018, when the Department of Treasury said that they were going to propose a new rule that would limit the federal deductibility of contributions that people make to nonprofits when those people also get some kind of estate tax credit for having given to those nonprofits.

Notice I didn’t say specifically scholarship groups, because this tax rule, it applies across the board. For example, it will apply to those states where they have tax-credit scholarship programs because people who give to those programs also get some kind of a state tax credit. Sometimes that’s for 100 percent of their donation; other places, it’s 50 percent of the donation. That varies state by state.

This also applies, for example, in Georgia to a program that they have to encourage people to give money to rural hospitals. This has become a great way for people to give charitable contributions and support those rural hospitals, and it’s been working very well in Georgia for many years.

This also applies to land trusts, the Nature Conservancy, many of the land preservation trusts that you’ll find across the country that preserve the most beautiful areas in communities and in states. They also typically will have a similar kind of program.

In each one of these programs, the thing to keep in mind is that the reason why someone who gives a charitable contribution to this nonprofit, the reason why they would get a state tax credit is because the legislature has determined that the mission of those nonprofits has real value, that it is a public good, that everyone in that state is served well when those nonprofits thrive. The legislature has determined that it’s in the best interests of the citizens of the state to incentivize people to give to those nonprofits. That is a state-based decision.

One of the biggest problems with the rule that’s been proposed by the Department of Treasury is that this is a situation where the feds have come in to say, “Well, we’re changing our minds about those kinds of contributions now, and now we’re going to say that you just can’t do that anymore,” notwithstanding the fact that many of these nonprofits have been in place, and these tax credits at the state level have been in place for generations.

First of all, this is the problem with the federal government coming in and trying to undo what state governments have determined to be in their own self-interest to the citizens of those states. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is that the Department of Treasury is also determined that if you get a state tax credit for your contribution, that that’s just the same thing as if you’re a donor and you decide to give money to some nonprofit that’s having a spaghetti dinner, and so you go to the spaghetti dinner and you give your money and you hear them talk about their program, but then when on your federal tax return to get the charitable deduction, then you deduct the value of that dinner. That’s fine. Well, the Department of Treasury is now saying that you also cannot claim your state tax credit, that your state tax credit is somehow the very same as getting a spaghetti dinner, or you might get a hat from the nonprofit that you’ve donated to, or maybe one of their books.

It’s not the same thing, and their rule contradicts about 40 to 50 years of decisions in the courts on this point. By trying to change this rule in both ways, trying to overrule what states have determined to be good for the states, and by trying to make a charitable contribution the same as a spaghetti dinner, for crying out loud, first, it has immediate consequences. It has long-term consequences. The long-term consequences are that it overturns a lot of tax law, and it really will leave states in the lurch on knowing what to do next.

But the short-term consequences have been quite dire for families. We are expecting that there will be hundreds, thousands of children who will not be able to get their scholarships during this next school year. That varies a bit from state to state, but the biggest problem is that people who regularly contribute to scholarship-granting organizations, many have been told by their tax people who do their tax returns, “Maybe you should hold up on those contributions because we don’t know what the IRS and the Department of Treasury are doing. We just don’t have a clue, so maybe you should put your money someplace else for a couple of years.” That’s happened. That has happened.

The impact is pretty dramatic. It’s just about as bad as you can think. What some scholarship-granting organizations have done is they’ve reached out to their donors to say, “We understand that, yeah, Department of Treasury is just a mess, and nobody knows what they’re doing, and the only thing that we’ve seen is not good, but please reconsider. Please consider these parents and these children who are so desperate for these scholarships, and they just really cannot afford to lose them.” Now, in those cases, the scholarship-granting organizations had been successful in bringing back some people, but in other cases, people just haven’t been able to give.

We are facing a huge problem, and here at EdChoice, we’re fighting against this rule. This next week, I’m going to the IRS. They’re going to hold testimony on this rule, and I’ll be testifying against it. There may be some litigation coming, as well. That’s certainly in the mix. This issue is not over yet, this issue that started in the summer…

Jen Wagner: A year and a half ago, yep.

Leslie Hiner: … of 2018. It’s not over. I could promise one thing, though, that I’m going to continue to fight this rule, fight against what Treasury is doing, as long as it takes. There’s just too much at risk here for parents and these kids.

Jen Wagner: Yeah. These kids wind up being… These scholarship granting organizations and the kids that they help wind up being collateral damage because…

Leslie Hiner: That’s correct.

Jen Wagner: … correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the intent… So, often the federal government has a lofty intent when they do things like this, and they wanted to prevent, if I’m not mistaken, extraordinarily wealthy donors from double-dipping, in their words, and getting all kinds of tax credits for these major contributions. But what they actually have done has had a chilling effect on incredibly local programs that are helping families.

Leslie Hiner: That’s right.

Jen Wagner: Yeah, and that’s frustrating.

Leslie Hiner: That’s exactly right.

Jen Wagner: This example, probably even more so than Espinoza, is a great one to showcase the work that you’re doing here for LDEC, for the Legal Defense and Education Center, because for a lot of groups, this is, again, an issue that hasn’t quite gotten to that top tier because it’s really complicated, and you have to go out there and get in the mix and understand. God bless you for taking on tax code and understanding all that. I avoided tax law in law school, but you’ve gotten a later in life course in it, self-taught.

Leslie Hiner: That’s true.

Jen Wagner: Yeah, this is a really important issue, and so we’ll definitely look for an update the next time we get together on where that rule stands.

Yeah, lots going on in D.C., and we’ve got a lot going on in the states. Those laboratories of democracy, they’re all over the place, some good…

Leslie Hiner: They’re all cooking.

Jen Wagner: … some not so great for school choice. I think we’ll probably start with what’s going on down in the great state of Tennessee lately. You recently put out a statement. They are experiencing some litigation in their recently passed, but as yet not operational ESA/voucher program. Bring us up-to-date a little bit if you can, I know it’s a bit of a moving target, but what the latest is there.

Leslie Hiner: Tennessee passed this program fairly recently, and they decided that they had an ability to start the program a little sooner than they had planned. Good for them. There’s been a high demand for this program, which is what has moved them to get things started as quickly as possible. But the law itself applies to children who are in those school districts where they have been at the lowest academic levels, and they’ve been there for a long time. As it turns out, those two areas are in Shelby County, which is the Memphis area, and metro Nashville, in those two areas. Those two areas are, as they say, “targeted” only because the academics there have been just so dreadfully low, and that’s where kids need the most help. But the folks in metro Nashville and in Shelby, in Memphis, what they’re claiming in court is that this violates a constitutional provision that they have in Tennessee that says that the state legislature cannot target a certain area or a certain city for legislation.

The truth of the matter is the only reason why it’s those two is because the academics are so poor there. If they weren’t, if the academics were lowest in Chattanooga, let’s say, then kids in Chattanooga would be able to access this program. It’s a fact-based situation, and they just happened to be in those facts. Nonetheless, they filed the litigation. I’m sure this is one of those things that will probably go on for a long time, I’m guessing. Sorry, listeners, but we’ll probably be talking about this for some time.

Then there have been some other developments in Tennessee, too, where people are trying to examine the programs and pick it apart. I think you’re going to see a lot of the people trying to pick it apart, trying to make things look as bad as possible, thinking that that will position them well in litigation before the court. I don’t think that’s true, but people can’t help themselves sometimes.

Jen Wagner: No, they can’t.

Leslie Hiner: Yeah, so that’s the situation we’re in in Tennessee. That’s just starting, so truly check back with us for updates.

Jen Wagner: Yeah. Hopefully, we can set aside the litigation and the politics of all this and put those families first. But as you know, you’ve been in this movement far longer than I have, and I’ve been in it long enough to know that oftentimes that doesn’t happen.

Leslie Hiner: No. Sadly, that’s true.

Jen Wagner: The grown-ups will fight, and maybe the kids will get the opportunities they deserve once we get our fighting done.

Well, moving along to some slightly happier news out of Connecticut, because it feels like sometimes on these podcasts we don’t have that much good news to share with our listeners. Parents in Hartford actually got a pretty big legal victory recently in terms of accessing schooling opportunities there. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and also what it means statewide in Connecticut?

Leslie Hiner: Connecticut had a very unusual situation. They were under a desegregation order, much like many states that have desegregation orders that go back generations now. The courts retain their jurisdiction over those cases. What’s happened is that, in Hartford, they enacted a law that that put quotas in place for magnet schools. In particular, in Hartford, there were a certain percentage of Asian and white children that had to be in each magnet school.

As it turned out for a lot of these magnet schools, the Asian kids and white kids, they might apply, but not at those numbers, so the result was that there’d be these long waiting lists of kids who were Hispanic or black kids and they couldn’t get in because of this quota, even though there were empty seats. It was just a ridiculous situation. In some cases, they even closed the magnet school rather than filling the seats with these kids who really wanted to get into these magnet schools, which in Hartford are really, really good schools.

It was just a huge injustice, just enormous, so some of the parents of those kids who were locked out of those schools, notwithstanding the fact there were empty seats and plenty of room for the kids to go in, they brought this litigation. The result was that they negotiated a settlement, which is to say they won. That segregation order was lifted, and now all the kids will have the opportunity to attend these magnet schools.

Now, there’s a second lawsuit that applies to the entire state, because Connecticut made the really poor decision of first enacting the law for Hartford and then enacting the law for the whole state. Not great thinking on their part. Nonetheless, it was really good that they negotiated with these parents, reached an accommodation. Pacific Legal Foundation represented the parents there. They did a fine job, met with success in Hartford, and we’re hoping that they’ll be able to do the same thing for the statewide law.

Jen Wagner: That would be phenomenal. We will check back for a statewide update out of Connecticut probably in our next episode.

Moving on to our neighboring state here in Indiana, our neighboring state of Ohio, which has had its own, shall we say, drama around their long-established school choice program. The facts in this… We won’t even call it a case because… It’s a recent piece of litigation. But the legislature went back and forth over the fact that the way that they’d written the law would have meant this year a whole bunch more families would have had access to their private school choice program because hundreds of schools in Ohio were actually deemed failing, and it turned out that lawmakers didn’t really like that outcome, so they’ve been squabbling.

Meanwhile, the deadline for parents to apply for EdChoice Ohio, which, I should note, is not at all related to us, EdChoice the national nonprofit. But the deadline passed, lawmakers pretty much kicked the can, and they’re still debating what to do with this program. Then recently, the parents actually filed a lawsuit. What’s your prognostication in Ohio, Leslie?

Leslie Hiner: Well, first, my heart is a little bit broken about Ohio. I grew up in Ohio, so I’m not very happy about what’s happening there. If you look at the reports coming out of Ohio, there’s a lot of talk about how “Oh, the legislature expanded their EdChoice, their voucher program, but, oh, too much. It’s too much too fast, and it applies to too many schools, and too many kids will apply.” Then there’s been a lot of chatter that “Oh no, it also applies to some high-performing schools. Well, we couldn’t possibly have that.”

All the conversation, though, that’s been coming out from a lot of the elected officials has been centered around the details, the legislature, the funding, the law, the words, all of this. There’s been very little conversation about “What about these parents?” Ohio took the great step of expanding this voucher program, and I might add that was a bipartisan effort. It was very well done by the Ohio legislature. Kudos to them. Kudos.

But then, suddenly, they got a lot of pushback from the usual suspect, from the teachers’ unions in Ohio, which are very strong. They got tremendous pushback there, and now they’re getting a little cold feet. “Oh, we can’t possibly allow children who are attending a high-performing school to maybe choose a different school.” That’s just wrong.

I speak from my own experience. I sent my kids to public schools, the highest-performing public schools in Indiana, and had to pull them out of those schools. Because they were bad schools? No, because they were the wrong schools for my kids. I really could’ve used a voucher back at that time. That would have been tremendously helpful.

The debate in Ohio, it’s just the wrong debate. No one’s really talking about what the parents need. But this lawsuit that has been filed, it’s filed by parents. These parents who were very excited about having a new opportunity for their kids that now is being taken away, they’re willing to stand up and fight for it. That’s what that lawsuit is all about.

Jen Wagner: Yeah, and that’s an amazing thing to see.

Leslie Hiner: I’m for the parents.

Jen Wagner: Yeah. They’re ticked off, and rightfully so, because they thought they were going to have a hard deadline, the legislature was going to do something, and maybe it was to say that they weren’t going to have access if they were in these particular schools, but instead of doing that, they did nothing. And all these parents who were looking… It’s February. You’re looking to make commitments for the next school year, and they can’t make those decisions.

I think you raise a really good point. I also had my oldest child in public school. She was in a magnet school, great school, a school that they’re on a wait list to get into. Not the right fit for her. My kids are in private school now, and I also could benefit from some sort of financial assistance.

But I think that’s the point that’s always missing in this debate, and it’s a hard one to have when you go in and you say, “This school is failing,” because all schools may have kids in there for whom that school is not meeting their needs. They could be an A school or a five-star school, depending on what state you’re in and how your accountability system works, but it might not be the right school for that kid. I think…

Leslie Hiner: That’s exactly right.

Jen Wagner: … these Ohio parents deserve a lot of credit for standing up to… stick it to the man, if you want to say it Jack Black style. They’re mad, and they deserve to have their voices heard.

Leslie Hiner: They do. This goes back to our earlier conversation about the Espinoza case in the Supreme Court. I so appreciated that whole debate by the U.S. Supreme Court that was a debate about all children. It was right. It was the right debate. It was the right kind of question to be asking. Are we helping all children, or we’re not helping all children?

Ohio should take note from that debate from the U.S. Supreme Court. Think about what you’re talking about. It’s not about your rules and your regulations and the teachers’ unions and bureaucracy. This is about these families and these kids, so put the priority focus there. Then I think Ohio will be able to figure this out, but they probably won’t figure it out right until they do that, until they put these kids first.

Jen Wagner: Yeah. But hopefully they’ll keep coming to the statehouse and testifying and-

Leslie Hiner: Yes, I hope so.

Jen Wagner: … talking about their stories.

Well, real quick, I know we’ve got two more, the Ms and the N states, if you will. We’ll start with the ongoing litigation in the states of Maine and Maryland. I know there’s not a whole lot new there, but we’re keeping our eye on those cases still as they progress.

Leslie Hiner: That’s right. The main cases before the First Circuit Court of Appeals, it mirrors the Espinoza case. The issue is exactly the same, and we’re just waiting for a decision out of the First Circuit. We actually expect to see a decision fairly soon, so we’ll let you know as soon as we get that decision.

In the Maryland case, it was reported that Bethel Christian Academy, who sued the state for kicking them out of the voucher program based on their religious beliefs, that the court had ruled against them and they couldn’t prove their case. Well, yeah, sort of, kind of. That was actually a motions issue. Both sides had filed motions for a summary judgment, which is a legal procedure, and the court said no to both of them. They’re proceeding now to trial, so that case is now moving forward.

Jen Wagner: Excellent. Yeah, again, we’ll keep our eye on Maine and Maryland. Then to our last pair of states, the N States, Nevada and North Carolina, both of which are also a little bit up in the air right now in terms of the current status of their programs and what the future holds.

Leslie Hiner: That’s correct. In Nevada, there are two cases. They both involve very bureaucratic technical issues, but in both of those cases… In one case, the tax-credit scholarship program, the escalator clause for that program is also tied up in that. In the other one, the repeal of their ESA is tied up in the other case. But in both cases, the school choice programs are not the issue. Rather, they are highly technical issues. Same thing in Nevada like in Maryland, they’re going through some procedural matters right now, and both of those cases will proceed.

In North Carolina, it had been on hold for quite some time, but that is an adequacy funding case, where just recently the court stepped forward and ordered the legislature in North Carolina to adequately fund education. They have a funding formula proposal that was put together that we’re not real fond of. I don’t think the legislature is real fond of it either, so I would expect that there’s going to be some back-and-forth between the courts and the state legislature on how they fund schools, how they fund education. That will, I’m sure, necessarily include their voucher programs and new ESA program in North Carolina, as well. That’s another one of those cases that will probably go on for a long time, so check back for updates on that, as well.

Jen Wagner: Which I guess is both a good thing and a bad thing, because the cases go on for a really long time and it’s not great for families, but at least we’re able to stay involved. Again, your work through the Legal Defense and Education Center here at EdChoice has been critical to all of these cases as they move forward. Obviously, next time we get together, we’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to get updates on, a whole bunch of cases.

For those of you listening, if you want to get updates more quickly, you can always check our website, edchoice.org. We pretty frequently post state briefs every month, and we post updates on cases as they are happening. Also, you can follow us on social media, on all the usual platforms, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Yeah. Wow, that was a lot to pack into this podcast. Leslie, thank you for joining me. On behalf of all of us here at EdChoice, I’m Jen Wagner, and we’ll catch you next time.

Leslie Hiner: Thanks, Jen.

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