West Virginia lawmakers passed the Hope Scholarship, at the time one of the broadest school voucher programs in the nation, in 2021. Voucher programs like the Hope Scholarship, referred to as Education Savings Accounts, divert taxpayer funding from the public education system to unaccountable, sometimes unaccredited, private schools and education service providers. With no public reporting required, there has been little information publicly available beyond the number of students approved in each of the first two years. New data obtained through a public records request raises serious concerns about the private schools and providers receiving taxpayer funds after just one full year of the program in effect. Later this fall, the WVCBP will release a more in-depth report on the Hope Scholarship, highlighting its potential impacts on public education and the state budget.
Read the full research preview here.
Of the nearly $6 million that went to nonpublic schools during the first year of the program, over $311,000 went to schools located outside West Virginia, flowing to Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
In the first year of the Hope Scholarship alone, over $1.7 million in state taxpayer funds went to unaccredited private schools.
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