Federal Judge Rules Vermont’s School Choice Can Be Used for Religious Schools

Vermont must reimburse parents denied state tuition benefits based on their decision to send their children to a religious school, per a settlement approved by a federal judge Thursday. Under the settlement, the state is prohibited from continuing to deny parents access to tuition based on a school’s “religious status, affiliation, beliefs, exercise, or activities,” and residents of districts that previously denied funds on this basis must be reimbursed. District Judge Christina Reiss cited the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer in Carson v. Makin, a case that similarly found Maine could not exclude religious schools from its tuition program without violating First Amendment religious liberty protections.

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