Private school enrollment in North Carolina is trending upward. The increase was largely fueled by a new state program that lets low-income families use taxpayer dollars to attend private schools.

The News and Observer of Raleigh reports that new state figures released last week showed a 1.6 percent increase in students attending the state's private schools during the 2014-15 school year. Enrollment had been dropping annually since the 2007-08 school year.

The future of the voucher program, officially called opportunity scholarships, is uncertain as the N.C. Supreme Court is reviewing a lower-court ruling that the vouchers are unconstitutional.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments in February, but it's uncertain when a ruling will be issued. The Supreme Court also hasn't ruled on a request by legislative leaders to let the program continue for the 2015-16 school year while the case remains under review.

In hopes of the program continuing, state lawmakers want to provide $17.6 million in vouchers for the upcoming school year and to expand the program's income-eligibility guidelines.

Voucher opponents say the program is another sign of erosion of legislative support for traditional public schools.

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