Saturday, June 8, 2013

Louisiana Voucher Law Struck Down

In May, the Louisiana State Supreme Court struck down Louisiana’s voucher plan, because it pays nonpublic schools with funds dedicated for public schools by the state constitution.

The Louisiana constitution names the dedicated fund the “Minimum Foundation Program” (MFP).

Under the voucher program, 4,700 students have been paying public funds to attend private schools, and officials expected that number to increase to 8,000 by September.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Governor Bobby Jindal’s response, “We’re disappointed the funding mechanism was rejected, but we are committed to make sure this program continues, and we will fund it through the budget.”

The Legislature controls the budget, and it may need persuasion.

Jindal held a pro-voucher rally on the capitol steps. He told voucher fans,

“I want you to share your stories with the legislators and others, inside this building. I know my friends in the Legislature, if they hear your compelling stories, they will join us, to make sure not only this program stays this year and next year, but this program continues to grow.”

The voucher scheme formed part of the 2012-2013 school funding act. The State Supreme Court declared the whole funding act invalid, because the House of Representatives had passed it with a simple majority under circumstances that required a two-thirds majority.

The ruling puts the 2011-2012 funding act into effect.

Louisiana Education Superintendent John C. White told reporters that the voucher rejection would send a refund of $12 million to Louisiana public schools. The reversion to the 2011-2012 act would send another $18 million to the public schools.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT), the Louisiana Association of Educators LAE), and the Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA) challenged the act.

The case is LFT v. Louisiana.

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