As state Republicans attempt to push their private school voucher program, one private school is accused of receiving voucher money for students who didn’t attend the school.
According to WRAL, The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority found Mitchener University Academy in Selma ineligible to receive the state’s private school voucher, called an Opportunity Scholarship.
The private school has been ordered to pay back $316,725 for students who had not attended or who had withdrawn from the school.
The Johnston County school is not the first private school to be removed from the voucher program. According to WFAE, the following schools have been removed:
Oasis Performing Arts School, in Charlotte, failed to submit test scores, a tuition and fee schedule and a criminal check on the school’s leader, as required by law. This resulted in the school receiving no scholarship money in 2021-22, the authority says. In 2020-21, the school received $12,600.
Assembly of Faith Christian School, in the Gaston County town of Dallas, was deemed ineligible for failure to submit test scores, “but no scholarship money was disbursed to them in the 2022-23 school year.” The school got $13,440 in 2021-22.
Academy of Excellence, in Statesville, was declared ineligible after failing to provide a criminal history check in 2022. But the school had not had scholarship recipients enrolled since 2018-19, when it got $3,800.
Jefferson Day School, in Winston-Salem, failed to submit test scores in 2022 and was declared ineligible to receive money for that school year. It received $6,300 in 2020-21.
An analysis by the North Carolina Justice Center found that Mitchener University Academy is among 26 private schools in which the number of Opportunity Scholarships awarded exceeded the number of students the schools reported enrolling during the 2021-22 school year.
“It just goes to show it’s the Wild West and someone needs to get a handle on this before we start spending half a billion a year on it,” Kris Nordstrom, education policy analyst at the North Carolina Justice Center, told WRAL.
This comes as state Republicans are moving to expand their private school voucher program that would pull millions out of public schools. Both Senate Bill 406 and House Bill 823, would divert over $2.2 billion of taxpayer money away from chronically underfunded public schools and into private schools.
Read more at WRAL