Latest News

Intersection of Private School Vouchers and Big-Time N.C. Prep Sports

When a coach at one of Fayetteville’s top private school basketball programs—a school that also is the state’s top recipient of private school vouchers—pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of tax withholding dollars he collected over eight years from the school’s employees, he received what some might consider an odd sentence.

Among the punishments handed down by the court for Heath Vandevender’s embezzlement activity at Trinity Christian School was 90 days in jail. He’s completing that sentence this fall by spending his weekends at the Cumberland County Detention Center.

But the sentence allowed Vandevender to keep his job, despite having embezzled significant sums of money while employed by Trinity Christian—a school that has received more than $1.7 million in taxpayer-funded vouchers since 2014.