School Choice Suffers Setback in Ohio

Washington, D.C. ­The Ohio Court of Appeals struck down the Cleveland Pilot Project Scholarship Program in a decision today, overturning a lower court ruling affirming the program.

Under the program, nearly 2,000 scholarships were awarded to low-income youngsters to attend private schools using state funds.

“We will immediately appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court,” announced Clint Bolick, litigation director for the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, which represents low-income families who receive scholarships. “This decision is the dark before the light.”

The court struck down the program as a violation of the religious establishment clauses of the U.S. and Ohio constitutions, which the court viewed as co-extensive. The court also concluded the program violated the provision of the Ohio Constitution requiring that general laws must have a statewide application.

“This program is about delivering educational opportunities for children who desperately need them,” Bolick declared. “For that reason above all, this decision will not stand.”

Sign up to receive IJ's biweekly digital magazine, Liberty & Law along with breaking updates about our fight to protect the rights of all Americans.