CHARLESTON, W.V.—The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals today released an order dissolving the injunction against the Hope Scholarship program and reversing the Kanawha County Circuit Court opinion that had declared the program unconstitutional. Following a constitutional challenge to the program in January, the Institute for Justice (IJ) intervened on behalf of Morgantown, West Virginia, parent Katie Switzer and Albright, West Virginia, parent Jennifer Compton to defend the program’s constitutionality under the West Virginia Constitution.
West Virginia families may use a student’s Hope Scholarship Account for private school tuition, therapies and a wide variety of other education expenses. As a result of today’s ruling, thousands of families in West Virginia will be able to direct their children’s education specifically for them as soon as next semester.
“The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals was right to reject the Plaintiffs’ meritless challenge. Parents are demanding school choice in West Virginia, and won’t have to wait much longer,” said IJ Attorney Joshua House. “Parents like Katie and Jennifer fought to defend the Hope Scholarship because education is not one-size-fits-all. Every family should be able to choose the school that best fits the needs of their children.”
One of Katie’s children has a speech disorder that she believes would benefit from the individualized attention that a private school could provide.
“This is lifechanging for my daughter and her peers,” said Katie Switzer. “It’s so exciting, it’s going to affect so many children in a positive way and give so many opportunities.”
The decision said: “Acting without undue delay given the nature of the constitutional matters at issue and the need to resolve the appeal in an expedited manner, the Court issues its decision by this order with a detailed opinion to follow.”
“Every family should be able to guide the education of their children, regardless of income,” said IJ Attorney Joe Gay. “School choice co-exists with strong public schools and is even shown to improve the public school system.”
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 choice programs in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee.