ARLINGTON, Va.—Today, in a victory for North Carolina families, a group of plaintiffs dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state’s popular Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). The lawsuit was filed by a group of several North Carolina residents in 2020. Immediately after, the Institute for Justice (IJ) teamed up with a group of North Carolina families who rely on the OSP to defend it from this constitutional challenge.
“Today’s dismissal is a major victory for the ability of North Carolina families to find the best education for their children’s unique needs,” said IJ Senior Attorney Ari Bargil. “We’re excited to see the plaintiffs finally accept that the OSP is a popular—and constitutional—option for North Carolina parents and put this lawsuit to rest.”
Passed into law in 2013, the OSP provides scholarships of up to $4,200 to low-income families to send their children to one of over 500 participating schools. The results have been great, with 97% of families saying they’re either satisfied or very satisfied with the school they were able to choose.
Janet Nunn, one of the parents represented by IJ in its defense of the OSP, uses the program to send her granddaughter, Nariah, to a private school.
“I’m so happy we can continue to use OSP funds to give Nariah the education she needs to be her best self,” said Janet. “This scholarship has allowed Nariah to excel and blossom into a confident, smart young woman, who understands the value of hard work.”
The OSP has grown rapidly since its inception. In 2014, a little over 1,200 students were enrolled in the program. By the time the lawsuit was filed in the 2019-20 school year, more than 12,000 students were taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the OSP.
“The constitutional challenge to the OSP was always flawed,” said IJ Attorney Marie Miller. “As the North Carolina Supreme Court previously held, the OSP is a constitutional program that serves a legitimate public interest: educating North Carolina’s children.”
“Every child deserves access to the best imaginable education and today’s victory ensures that is a reality of thousands of North Carolina children,” said IJ President and Chief Counsel Scott G. Bullock.