Louisiana Supreme Court Rejects Attempt to Block Statewide Voucher Program
Posted on Friday August 17, 2012 | Louisiana
High court decision is third rejection of teachers union efforts to prevent low-income families from using scholarships
BATON ROUGE, LA (August 17, 2012)—The Louisiana Supreme Court on Wednesday denied an injunction request aimed at stopping the statewide school voucher program, the latest in a number of recent legal actions in favor of expanded educational opportunities for families.
The Louisiana Federation for Children—a leading advocate for expanding educational options in the Bayou State—praised the ruling as another victory for children, which comes a month after the First Circuit Court of Appeals made the same ruling in rejecting the teachers union effort to stop the program. It represents the third time in two months that the courts have ruled in favor of children being able to attend a school of their parents’ choice.
The ruling means that the more than 5,600 students who were awarded scholarships through the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence (SSEE) program this school year can attend the school of their parents’ choice.
“This legal ruling proves once again that the law is on the side of giving parents the educational choices they have so long deserved,” said Eddie Rispone, chairman of the Louisiana Federation for Children. “It’s time for the teachers union and the special interests to halt their legal efforts to deny Louisiana’s most disadvantaged children immediate access to a good education.”
Wednesday’s State Supreme Court ruling follows an attempt last month by the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) to prevent schools from participating in the program. An LAE lawyer sent letters threatening to sue schools if they didn’t drop out, and in response, the Alliance for School Choice—an affiliated organization with the Louisiana Federation for Children—created a legal defense fund (www.LouisianaDefenseFund.com) to defend schools in the event of litigation against them.
Thus far, not a single school has dropped out of participating in the program.
More than 10,300 families applied to participate in the voucher program, which was expanded with bipartisan support earlier this year. The program was enacted in 2008 for low-income families with children attending failing schools in Orleans Parish.