CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) — The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals today released a full ruling affirming the constitutionality of the Hope Scholarship Program.
This ruling gives much needed support for families to use scholarships for private school tuition, therapies and other important education expenses.
The 4-1 decision overturns a lower court injunction that halted the program in July. There was a constitutional challenge to the program in January by the Institute for Justice (IJ), to support Morgantown, West Virginia, parent Katie Switzer and Albright, West Virginia, parent Jennifer Compton while defending the program’s constitutionality under the West Virginia Constitution.
“The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals confirmed what state court after state court has found. The constitutional requirement to provide for public schools is a floor, not a ceiling. West Virginia has to provide public schools, but it can give parents other options, too.”Joshua House – IJ Attorney
Justice Tim Armistead writes on behalf of the majority ruling, “we find that the West Virginia Constitution does not prohibit the Legislature from enacting the Hope Scholarship Act in addition to providing for a thorough and efficient system of free schools.”
Direction from the Supreme Court allows the lower court to rule in the favor of parents and the state.
“We’re really excited to have this in writing. This helps us have confidence moving forward to make decisions about the best education for our children.”Katie Switzer – parent in Morgantown, West Virginia
IJ is the nation’s leading legal defender of educational choice programs, having won numerous lawsuits, including four at the U.S. Supreme Court. IJ is currently defending other like programs in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee.
The Institute for Justice uses strategic litigation, training, communication, activism, legislative outreach and research for the benefit of individuals so they can control their destinies as free and responsible members of society.
The IJ is committed to secure economic liberty, educational choice, private property rights, freedom of speech and other vital individual liberties, and to restore constitutional limits on the power of government.