A ruling against Louisiana's voucher program


Louisiana's controversial voucher program was ruled to violate the Louisiana state constitution, the Baton Rouge Advocate (December 3, 2012) reports. Part of the controversy over the program, which uses public school funds to pay for tuition and certain fees at private schools for students who attend low-performing public schools and whose family income is below a certain level, involves creationism: Zack Kopplin, the activist who organized the effort to repeal the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, told the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that of the roughly 6600 spaces available for students under the program, 1350 will be filled, as the Lafayette Independent Weekly (July 26, 2012) described it, "at private Christian schools that teach creationism and peg evolution as 'false science.'"

But creationism was not at issue in the lawsuit just decided: rather, the Louisiana Association of Educators and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers along with a number of local school boards argued that the program violates the state constitution by redirecting local tax dollars from public schools to private schools. District Judge Tim Kelley agreed, ruling, "The MFP [the Minimum Foundation Program] was set up for students attending public elementary and secondary schools and was never meant to be diverted to private educational providers ... vital public dollars raised and allocated for public schools through the MFP cannot be lawfully diverted to nonpublic schools or entities." Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal indicated that the decision will be appealed to Louisiana's Supreme Court.