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RALEIGH, N.C. -- A North Carolina judge is keeping alive a challenge to a new law that would let taxpayer money go for tuition at private or religious schools.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood on Monday refused to dismiss a lawsuit over what one side calls school "vouchers" and the other calls "opportunity scholarships."

Hobgood wants another hearing Friday on whether to block the annual grants for children in low-income households of up to $4,200 for the academic year starting in August.

The North Carolina Association of Educators and the group representing the state's 115 school boards filed separate lawsuits arguing the law violates the state constitution.

State attorneys are joined by a libertarian legal defense group representing parents who want the program. They say the law expands education options.

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