Voters in canton Ticino have rejected an initiative proposing the public funding of private schools. The "Freedom to choose any school" initiative was cast out by three quarters of voters.
A counter-initiative launched by the cantonal government was also rejected by 72.3 per cent of the population.
As a result of the vote, parents who send their children to private schools will not receive state subsidies to help pay the fees.
On a federal level, the issue has also been the subject of heated debate. The government officially supported the counter-initiative.
The popular initiative was launched three years ago by conservative religious circles. if it had been accepted, parents sending their children to private schools would have had up to half their fees paid out of public funds.
On the other hand, the counter-initiative only proposed offering subsidies to private pupils of compulsory school age.
The "school vouchers" would have been worth between SFr1,500 andSFr7,500 per child and per year, depending on the family's income.
If accepted, the initiative would have cost Ticino an estimated SFr10 million, whereas the counter-initiative would have cost half of that sum.
swissinfo with agencies