A federal appeals court has ordered that Vermont students who attend private religious schools must be reimbursed under a state voucher plan.

Vermont’s voucher program is limited to students attending secular schools in rural areas not served by public schools. Some parents sought reimbursement for religious schools as well.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited a 2020 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that stated that if states choose to establish a voucher program, they must include religious schools.

A lower court had ruled that while religious schools could take part in the program, state officials should determine how best to proceed. The appeals court ruling requires that religious schools be included with no delays.

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