CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The court battle over the Hope Scholarship continues after West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a motion in the state’s Intermediate Court of Appeals asking for a stay in the ruling that declared the scholarship program violated the state constitution.

On July 6, 2022, Judge Joanna Tabit blocked the state from launching the Hope Scholarship voucher program saying it would ultimately take public funds and use it for private education expenses.

The Hope Scholarship voucher program was signed into law by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice in 2021 with plans for it to go into effect for the 2022-2023 school year. More than 3,000 students have already been awarded the scholarship which would be used for education purposes this fall. Each student receives $4,300 to go toward private or homeschooled education.

Morrisey already plans to appeal the court’s decision, claiming it is “undermining parents’ freedom to choose” regarding their children’s education. According to Cornell Law School, a stay is a court action that prevents a proceeding from continuing or prevents a ruling from being carried out. He says he is petitioning for the stay to allow the families to receive the funds they have already been awarded.

“The lower court’s ruling undermining parents’ freedom to choose how they educate their children is legally wrong and deeply disappointing, and we are ready to appeal as soon as the lower court issues its written order confirming its ruling from nearly two weeks ago,” Morrisey said. “In the meantime, we are urging the appellate court to stay the decision so that thousands of West Virginia families can receive the money the Legislature intended for the upcoming school year—which starts in a matter of weeks. The Hope Scholarship Act is an important law and we will fight for our kids and the hard working families of our state to retain this law and uphold its constitutionality.”

A fiscal note produced in the legislature when the bill first passed estimated that the full cost for the program could be as much as $100 million aside from public education.