By Victor Skinner
BATON ROUGE, La. – The battle between Louisiana’s education establishment and families looking for better educational options will continue in the state’s Supreme Court after a district judge ruled parts of a new voucher law unconstitutional.
Currently, about 5,000 Louisiana students are taking advantage of the voucher program that was expanded last year to allow students in failing schools to attend a private school at public expense. Previously, the program was limited to New Orleans, Nola.com reports.
The Louisiana Federation of Teachers, the Louisiana Association of Educators and the Louisiana School Boards Association –the state’s education establishment – filed a lawsuit shortly after the voucher program was approved by lawmakers last year. The plaintiffs claim the voucher system is unconstitutional because public funds are paid to private organizations for instruction.
District judge Kelley ruled the voucher law itself is constitutional, but parts of the funding mechanism are not. The administration of Gov. Bobby Jindal recently appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.
Louisiana’s education establishment has also filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, arguing that all four statutes at issue in the lower court are unconstitutional, Nola.com reports.
So the legal battle for education freedom will continue in Louisiana, with the state’s highest court presumably making the final decision.
Thankfully all the legal maneuvering has not interrupted the voucher program. The state’s education department is pressing forward, helping thousands of students across the state escape their failing public school for something better.
“All children currently in the voucher program continue to attend their nonpublic schools,” said department spokesman Barr Landry. He added that private schools can apply to participate for the next academic year through the end of this month, and parents can start signing their children up in February, according to the news site.