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Louisiana Judge Declares Voucher Funds Must Go Back To Public Schools...

Posted by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM
  • 234 Replies

 

Louisiana Judge Declares Voucher Funds Must Go Back To Public Schools

Louisiana public schools; photo by Susan Poag,The Times-Picayune archive

Last spring, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and the state's Republican legislature thought they had found a way to wrest tax dollars away from the public schools and give them to private, mostly religious ones, instead. The plan to use vouchers to gut public education was pushed to approval over the objections of Democrats and teachers' unions.

On Friday, state District Judge Tim Kelley of Baton Rouge ruled on a lawsuit filed against the legislation by Louisiana's two largest teacher unions and the state's school boards association. He determined that the law, which took effect with the fall semester, is unconstitutional. Louisiana's constitution clearly states:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education must "annually develop and adopt a formula which shall be used to determine the cost of a minimum foundation program of education in all public elementary and secondary schools..."

This is called the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula.

 

Judge Kelley took exception to Act 2 of Jindal's law, which allows funds to be taken out of the MFP funds and given to private schools through a voucher system. In his ruling, Kelley stated:

"Vital public dollars raised and allocated for public schools through the MFP cannot be lawfully diverted to nonpublic schools or entities... This Court does not propose to foreclose the State from establishing educational programs that are funded outside the constitutional limitations of the Minimum Foundation Program."

In other words, the state can fund vouchers, but not by using public school funds mandated by the constitution. In a news release calling the voucher act aggressive and overreaching, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu agreed:

"A strategic use of state-funded vouchers could be appropriate, but this diversion of public education dollars was a step too far and diminishes resources for meaningful reform efforts already under way at the local level."

The judge didn't issue an injunction against the law, allowing time for the case to be appealed and work its way through the legal system before its reversal upsets the lives of students. Of course, Governor Jindal vowed an immediate appeal.

The law's opponents are concerned about the quality of the education students are receiving in the meantime, given the fact that most private schools in Louisiana are Bible-based. For instance, according to Reuters News Service, students sit in cubicles at Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, moving individually through Christian workbooks. A science text consists of "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. The children aren't exposed to the theory of evolution because pastor-turned-principal, Marie Carrier, says, "We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children." Even wackier Louisiana teachings, such as the co-existence of humans and dinosaurs, can be found here.

Because Judge Kelley declared the law unconstitutional, any appeal will go directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court. This is hopefully a good thing and may at least bring a speedy final resolution.

 

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/12/02/louisiana-judge-declares-voucher-funds-must-go-back-to-public-schools/

by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM
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Replies (1-10):
kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Dec. 3, 2012 at 12:46 PM
8 moms liked this

What a biased article.  The public school system is not the best fit for everyone, and everyone is entitled to the best education available.  Vouchers are a great idea, and a way to make public schools have to compete to get funding.  Competition means better schools.  It's a win-win.  It is not even remotely unconstitutional, and I hope this goes to the Supreme Court right away.

romalove
by Roma on Dec. 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM
2 moms liked this

Good.

stormcris
by Christy on Dec. 3, 2012 at 12:50 PM
4 moms liked this

This will only serve to keep many students in low preforming schools and reduce the overall education of many.

Claire-Huxtable
by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 12:50 PM
5 moms liked this

YAY for poor education being forced on poor kids!

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Dec. 3, 2012 at 1:06 PM
16 moms liked this

Awesome.

Money for public schools should stay in public schools.  Work to make yours better if you are unhappy with them.

You want to send your kid to private school that works outside of public boards? Then pay for that choice yourself.

Public school funds should never go to private schools.

romalove
by Roma on Dec. 3, 2012 at 1:06 PM
2 moms liked this

The private schools described don't seem to offer a better education than the regular public schools, and frankly, these voucher programs and charter schools drain money from existing schools leaving those schools the poorer.

Where I live we have great public schools, every single school in my district has been awarded Blue Ribbon and our high school regularly sits on the lists for top schools in the country.  We have, however, attracted a charter school.  Why?  Because it is dual language Hebrew and English, and my town has a large number of Jews (we have three temples in town).  It is not teaching Judaism and is not religious, but still, it's giving Hebrew lessons and enrichment to those children.  For every child enrolled in that school, the money that would have been used for them in the school they are supposed to go to in town goes to the charter instead.  The school they were to go to, of course, still has to maintain building and teachers and everything else, but has a few less dollars to work with.

Everything isn't always cut and dried.

ms-superwoman
by Silver Member on Dec. 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM
1 mom liked this

This

Quoting NWP:

Awesome.

Money for public schools should stay in public schools.  Work to make yours better if you are unhappy with them.

You want to send your kid to private school that works outside of public boards? Then pay for that choice yourself.

Public school funds should never go to private schools.


tooptimistic
by Kelly on Dec. 3, 2012 at 1:16 PM
3 moms liked this

Wow, so the same crapy failing schools for the kids, and no choices for the parents.  How sad for the kids who want to learn and the parents who are involved and want an education for their kids.

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Dec. 3, 2012 at 1:23 PM
6 moms liked this

If you want to send your kid to private school, you still have that choice. No one took it from you. You should not expect and are not entitled to public funds for that.

If you don't like your public schools, get involved and help make them better.


Quoting tooptimistic:

Wow, so the same crapy failing schools for the kids, and no choices for the parents.  How sad for the kids who want to learn and the parents who are involved and want an education for their kids.


New World Peace

Claire-Huxtable
by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 1:25 PM
2 moms liked this

Then maybe your taxes should not go to schools that you aren't using because they are such failures.

Quoting NWP:

If you want to send your kid to private school, you still have that choice. No one took it from you. You should not expect and are not entitled to public funds for that.

If you don't like your public schools, get involved and help make them better.


Quoting tooptimistic:

Wow, so the same crapy failing schools for the kids, and no choices for the parents.  How sad for the kids who want to learn and the parents who are involved and want an education for their kids.



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