Bipartisan Support Restores Louisiana Scholarship Program Funding

Parents express gratitude and stress importance of educational choice

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 6, 2013) — The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, today applauded bipartisan members of the Louisiana Legislature for ensuring the Louisiana Scholarship Program will be fully funded for the 2013-2014 school year. Nearly 8,000 students have been awarded a scholarship to attend a school of their parents’ choice.

“The bold actions by bipartisan members of the Louisiana legislature ensures thousands of children have access to quality educational options,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel for the American Federation for Children.
LeAnn Mason, whose two children attend Hosanna Christian Academy in Baton Rouge as a result of the Louisiana Scholarship Program, expressed her excitement and the importance of the program, saying, “As a mother, I’m extremely excited. This assures my kids get a better education, and that’s all I want for them. My kids are doing so much better in school. Now they’re on track, and I feel good about where they are right now.”

In May, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled the previous funding mechanism for the program unconstitutional. Because the court’s ruling halted money coming from the state’s Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) to pay for the program, the scholarship program is now funded through a line item in the state’s budget, much like it was paid for before the program was expanded statewide.

In a February 2013 survey by the Louisiana Federation for Children and the Black Alliance for Educational Options, nearly 93 percent of parents reported they are happy with their child’s scholarship school. Almost 94 percent reported they are happy with their child’s academic progress, 98 percent feel welcome at their child’s school, and virtually all parents said their child feels safe in their school.

Nearly 5,000 students were enrolled in the school of their parents’ choice during the 2012-2013 school year through the Louisiana Scholarship Program, which was expanded statewide in the spring of 2012 by a bipartisan group of legislators. Prior to the expansion, the program served students in New Orleans from 2008 to 2012.

The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high quality educational options for families.