Voucher meeting to look at options, opportunities

Oct. 03, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

Parents of school-age children from around the area will have the chance tonight to learn more about new scholarships for their students to attend private school or get therapy for special needs.

The N.C. General Assembly created a voucher system this summer that will allow qualified, low-income families to receive $4,200 per year to pull their children out of public school and put them in private school if they choose. Also, families of any income level with a child who is disabled can receive $6,000 per year to put toward either private school or other expenses related to that disability, such as speech therapy.

And from 6-7:30 tonight in Pinehurst, at the Longleaf Academy at 395 Magnolia Road, parents and their children from Moore, Lee, Chatham, Harnett and other local counties can learn more about their options and hear from a variety of speakers who are knowledgeable about the new programs.

Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, speaker pro tempore of the N.C. House of Representatives and a champion of the voucher program, will be on hand to answer questions about the vouchers. Joining him will be Michael Fedewa, superintendent of Catholic schools in the eastern half of North Carolina, which includes the local area, and Karen Duquette, vice president of Parents for Educational Choice in North Carolina. Her group advocates for more school options to be available to families of all income levels.

“We’re getting so many questions from parents — different questions that are, quite frankly, great questions for this symposium,” Jill DeJak, Longleaf Academy’s principal, said.

She said the event will be held as a public question-and-answer session, followed by an informal period at the end where people also can ask private questions of the speakers. And although the gathering is in Moore County, DeJak said she’s expecting attendees from surrounding counties — especially because several Lee County groups have also been working with her to spread awareness of the voucher program.

People from Grace Christian School have worked hard to get out the word about the new program, Dejak said, and the Sanford-Lee County Boys and Girls Club has also been involved. Club Director Bo Hedrick said that last Friday, every parent who came to the club received a flier on the new opportunities that might be available to them, and that he’s expecting some families will follow up by attending tonight’s meeting.


What: Q&A regarding private school vouchers available to low-income families or parents of disabled children

When: Today from 6-7:30 p.m.

Where: Longleaf Academy, 395 Magnolia Road in Pinehurst

Other: Free, open to everyone, parking available on site