When a school choice law is passed, a school choice lawsuit follows – it’s all but inevitable. I’ve counted at least a dozen school choice lawsuits over 11 programs in 2013. Here’s the roundup:
Arizona: Niehaus v. Huppenthal
Program at issue: Empowerment Scholarship Accounts
Available to: Students with special needs, assigned to failing schools, in military families, in foster care or in adoptive families
Status: A state appeals court ruled in favor of education savings accounts, finding them distinct from a voucher program the state Supreme Court struck down in 2009. Interested parties are waiting to hear whether the state’s high court will hear the case.
Program at issue: Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
Available to: Students with special needs
Status: In November 2012 the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the program — sort of. The school districts did not have standing to bring the case, it said. In October 2013, other plaintiffs — citizen taxpayers, almost all affiliated with the public school system — filed suit against the state. When they finish filing their paperwork, the state can file its brief and the judge can set a hearing date.
Alabama: Boyd v. Magee
Program at issue: Alabama Accountability Act
Type: Tax-credit scholarships, tax credits or rebates.
Available to: Tax-credit scholarships are available to low-income students; tax credits or rebates are available to families transferring children from a failing public school to a non-failing public school or an accredited private school.