I am planning on running for School Board in my local school district. Our funding is not the highest in NY state, it is ~16k per student per year. Comparatively the local private schools cost 6-12k per student per year. Additionally our schools perform terribly with a 58.9% graduation rate (although that is a substantial improvement from a few years ago).
I would like to run on a platform of school choice beginning with a voucher or scholarship program. I would propose that the grant be paid directly to parents in order to pay for their children’s education at other schools in the region. The requirement for participating students would be a basic testing following the testing in the public schools. The tests could be administered by either the enrolling school or the students could come to the public school for the test. I would allow the voucher to be used at either private schools or nearby public schools (i.e. if the neighboring district wants some of our students they can accept the grant money). The problem is NY State Constitution Article 9 section 3
Neither the state nor any subdivision thereof, shall use its property or credit or any public money, or authorize or permit either to be used, directly or indirectly, in aid or maintenance, other than for examination or inspection, of any school or institution of learning wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination, or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine is taught, but the legislature may provide for the transportation of children to and from any school or institution of learning.
Most of the private schools in the area are religious in nature and so it seems that any grant system may run afoul of the state constitution. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? How would I go about trying to implement this? Could Indiana’s program carry over?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.