CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Hope Scholarship recipients who were supposed to receive educational funding for the 2022-2023 academic school year will receive the entire scholarship, but it might not happen until January 2023. That’s according to the West Virginia Treasurer’s Office.
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled the Hope Scholarship Voucher Program constitutional on Thursday, Oct. 6.
Parents such as Katie Switzer, who received the scholarship, said they were overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“We are just over the moon with all of these opportunities opened up for our kids and their peers,” she said. “It’s going to be amazing. I’m so excited.”
When the program was first introduced by Governor Jim Justice back in 2021, Switzer said she was excited because according to her it opened the doors for greater educational possibilities for her children, specifically her daughter, Ruth, who has a speech disorder.
“When we heard about the hope scholarship, we were really excited that we might be able to use it to pay for her therapy,” she said. “We were also really excited that it could give some flexibility for her in terms of part-time classroom time or maybe a co-op program so that wouldn’t be an overwhelming environment for her with her communication challenges.”
Switzer’s family is just one out of thousands that qualified for Hope Scholarships this school year but never received the funding because a Kanawha County Judge issued an injunction back in July.
Judge Joanna Tabit called the program unconstitutional because she said it would take public funds and use it for private education expenses.
The act has also been opposed by many school district officials and teacher’s unions.
Fred Albert, the President of the American Federation of Teachers in West Virginia said, “The effects of this decision will likely have a negative impact on the services provided to public school students for decades to come.”
The West Virginia Treasurer’s Office said applications for this year’s Hope Scholarship have already closed. However, applications for the 2023-2024 school year will be available starting March 1, 2023.
As for those who received the Hope Scholarship for the 2022-2023 school year, the office said they will have a Hope Board meeting next week to decide when the families will receive the funding.