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Second Circuit Rules Vermont Can’t Exclude Religious Schools From Tuition Program

The U.S Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit has ruled that Vermont can’t exclude students attending religious schools from state-sponsored tuition programs, striking down the state’s long-standing prohibition on public funding for those institutions.

Vermont’s Town Tuition Program (TTP), one of the oldest of its kind in the United States, provides educational vouchers for students living in towns that don’t have public schools. The program allows a designated “tuition town” to directly pay tuition to the school of student’s choice, which can be public, secular private, or home school in or outside Vermont.

The case was brought last September by families who applied to their tuition towns for funding under the TTP, but their requests were denied because the schools they attend are deemed “too religious.” Their complaint alleged that Vermont Agency of Education and had engaged in discrimination by denying religious schools access to ...