Are Charter Schools Affected by the Hope Scholarship Lawsuit?

Education Battles in the News

Recently, West Virginia’s news headlines have been filled to the brim with stories related to education reform and the concomitant legal battles: “Case challenging public funding for private education goes to court,” “Lawsuit aims to repeal WV Hope Scholarship program,” and “W.Va. Supreme Court Issues Stay In Charter School Lawsuit.” 

Among public policy issues, education and its scion, education reform, is, arguably, among the most complex, convoluted, and confusing of policy issues, even for those of us who receive a paycheck to work on the topic. Between federal and state regulations, definitional distinctions, statutes, constitutional obligations and interpretations, and many, many more complicating factors, one could be forgiven for being flummoxed when navigating education’s turbulent landscape. 

Does the Lawsuit Against the Hope Scholarship Affect Charters?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve received several questions from confused and worried parents on whether the recent injunction filed against West Virginia’s near-universal ESA program, the “Hope Scholarship,” has any impact on West Virginia’s nascent charter school landscape.  

Luckily, this is a relatively straight-forward answer: no, it does not affect the charter school landscape in West Virginia. If you planned on sending your child to a charter school, then please do not allow the Hope Scholarship lawsuit to influence your decision. Whatsoever. There is no direct connection between the two programs.  

West Virginia’s charter schools are considered a part of the public school system in West Virginia. Thus are not eligible to receive Hope Scholarship dollars, unless in an a la carte form via the purchase of a seat in an individual calculus class, for example.  

As a reminder, Hope Scholarship dollars are awarded once a child is withdrawn from the public school system and are to be used on a wide variety of expenditures like private school tuition or tutoring services, not to be used, in total, at a public school. This would be a form of “double funding,” and was disallowed in the original legislation creating the Hope Scholarship back in 2021.  

The Cardinal Institute is, at its core, here to serve West Virginia, so if you have any additional concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. If we do not know the answer, we know someone who will.  



Garrett Ballengee is the Executive Director of the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy.