Court Says Tuition Vouchers Can Be Used For Religious Schools

2002

As the debate over school choice intensified, Ohio sponsored a pilot project in Cleveland in which tuition vouchers were given to low-income families to help pay for their children to attend the school of their choice. More than 90 percent of children whose families received the financial aid used it to attend a religiously affiliated school. A group of taxpayers sued, arguing that the program violated the Constitution’s mandate to separate church and state.

Unlike the Wisconsin case in 1998, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court rules that the voucher program is constitutional. The Court finds that families are allowed to use the aid for any public, private, religious or nonreligious school they choose.