A Louisiana judge ruled Friday that the state’s voucher program is unconstitutional because it diverts taxpayer money to pay tuition at private and parochial schools for some students.
The lawsuit, which was brought by the Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA), the state’s main teachers unions, and 43 public school boards, was supported by the National School Boards Association (NSBA). Gov. Bobby Jindal and state superintendent John White have announced that they will appeal the verdict, it is unclear whether the students who accepted the vouchers for this school year will stay in their current schools.
LSBA Legal Counsel Bob Hammonds argued the case on behalf of the school boards.
LSBA Executive Director Scott Richard issued a statement following the decision:
“On behalf of the Louisiana School Boards Association and 43 public school boards, we certainly respect the decision of the trial court; however, we know that this is only an initial step in a possibly prolonged legal process.
“School Boards had no desire to seek a legal remedy to the constitutional problems associated with the recent legislation in Act 2 and SCR 99/MFP, but had no choice due to the fact that these pieces of legislation were not properly vetted in the beginning of the legislative session; and, were unnecessarily fast-tracked for obvious reasons.
“LSBA remains committed to ensuring that all school boards perform their statutorily mandated directive to seek all funds available in order to provide quality educational services. We strongly believe that public tax dollars should not be diverted to private entities, especially given the current economic climate – and, this litigation begs the question as to the effectiveness of state-funding shell game called the Minimum Foundation Program.
“LSBA along with all school boards and our parent organization, NSBA, will continue to work to see this important litigation reach final resolution – for the children we are charged with serving.”