School Choice Suffers Setback in Ohio

John Kramer
John Kramer · May 1, 1997

Washington, D.C. ­The Ohio Court of Appeals struck down the Cleveland Pilot Project Scholarship Program in a decision today, overturning a lower court ruling affirming the program.

Under the program, nearly 2,000 scholarships were awarded to low-income youngsters to attend private schools using state funds.

“We will immediately appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court,” announced Clint Bolick, litigation director for the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, which represents low-income families who receive scholarships. “This decision is the dark before the light.”

The court struck down the program as a violation of the religious establishment clauses of the U.S. and Ohio constitutions, which the court viewed as co-extensive. The court also concluded the program violated the provision of the Ohio Constitution requiring that general laws must have a statewide application.

“This program is about delivering educational opportunities for children who desperately need them,” Bolick declared. “For that reason above all, this decision will not stand.”

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