NC Supreme Court allows planning for new year of private-school vouchers program


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RALEIGH, North Carolina — North Carolina's Supreme Court says a state agency can start the application process for another year of a program that uses taxpayer money to pay student tuition at private schools while the court decides whether it is constitutional.

The high court said Friday the State Education Assistance Authority can take steps needed to prepare for the 2015-16 academic year but can't disburse funds in August unless the court allows. The agency has spent $2.2 million for the first 1,100 students this fall.

The Supreme Court plans to hear arguments in the case in February and issue a ruling sometime later.

A lower-court judge ruled the program violates the state constitution because privately run K-12 schools don't need to meet curriculum standards and religious schools can discriminate based on faith.

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