Vermont Agency of Education reaches settlement with religious schools

Dan French, secretary of the Company of Schooling, speaks at a Covid-19 press convention in September 2021. Picture by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

Vermont’s Company of Schooling reached a ultimate settlement in two lawsuits searching for to permit public cash to pay for tuition at non secular colleges. 

A gaggle of households sued the state in 2020, alleging that their youngsters had been discriminated towards as a result of they have been denied public cash to attend non secular colleges. 

The fits have been largely determined in June, after the U.S. Supreme Court docket ruled {that a} Maine public tuition program couldn’t exclude non secular colleges. By September, the 2 sides in Vermont had reached a settlement settlement.

State officers agreed to pay $95,000 for attorneys’ charges and problem a letter to superintendents explaining that non secular colleges couldn’t be excluded from public tuition funds. 

However Christina Reiss, a federal decide in Burlington, expressed concerns with some facets of the 2 sides’ settlement. The proposed settlement would require her to log out on conclusions of legislation that she didn’t agree with, she stated. 

“I don’t imagine I’ve ever been requested to sort of undertake any individual’s conclusions of legislation in that manner,” she stated in a September phone convention.

Reiss signed a modified settlement in late October. In a submitting on Wednesday, the 2 sides agreed to dismiss the swimsuit. 

The settlement “permits tuition paying college districts to maneuver ahead with readability, understanding that they need to pay tuition to all authorised unbiased colleges no matter non secular affiliation,” stated Ted Fisher, an Company of Schooling spokesperson. 

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a nationwide Christian advocacy group that represented the mother and father, declared victory after the Wednesday filings. 

“All mother and father ought to have the ability to ship their children to varsities which can be the most effective match for them, and the First Modification protects mother and father’ proper to decide on non secular colleges,” Paul Schmitt, an lawyer with the group, stated in a Thursday press launch.  

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