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Voucher decision stayed awaiting high court ruling

WASHINGTON (BP)–A federal appeals court has ruled a Cleveland, Ohio, education voucher program may continue while the case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued March 8 a stay of its decision striking down the Cleveland program until the high court resolves the case. The Institute for Justice, a Washington-based organization that represents five families with children in the Cleveland Scholarship Program, said it plans to ask the Supreme Court by the end of May to review the decision.

If the justices accept the case, it will not be argued until next term, which begins in October.

A panel of the Sixth Circuit voted 2-1 in December to uphold a federal judge’s opinion the Cleveland program violates the separation of church and state, because most of the private schools in which vouchers are used are religious ones. The full Sixth Circuit refused Feb. 28 to rule on its panel’s opinion.

The Cleveland program, which was established by the Ohio legislature, permits a low-income family to use a voucher with a cap of $2,500 in state funds for tuition costs at the school of its choice, including a religious one.

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