School Voucher Funding Ruled Unconstitutional By Louisiana Supreme Court


Louisiana's Supreme Court issued a 6-1 decision on Tuesday that struck down Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) plan to power a private school voucher program with state funds, the AP reports.

With Justice Greg Guidry dissenting, the majority ruled in favor of the Louisiana Association of Educators, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana School Boards Association. Justice John Weimer wrote "the clear, specific and unambiguous language of the constitution" does not allow the state government to divert state funds earmarked for public schools in the state's Minimum Foundation Program to pay for private or parochial tuition, according to the Times-Picayne, which added that the court did not consider the program on its merits.

Roughly 8,000 students have been approved to receive vouchers in the coming academic year, the AP reports.

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  1. Jindal plans to end-run the court by forcing the citizens to pay for it separately: “we will fund it through the budget” (which is quicker than amending the constitution). Furthermore, “we are committed to making sure choice is alive” but only when it comes to “families (sending) their children to the school of their choice.”

  2. What is the law outside Louisiana? I thought vouchers were common. Why would such a backward state be the one to block them?

  3. In reply to #2 by Roedy:

    What is the law outside Louisiana? I thought vouchers were common. Why would such a backward state be the one to block them?

    Vouchers yes but vouchers to religious schools should be illegal and so far still are. In the US any funding to religious schools should be unconstitutional due to the separation of church and state. This is an attempt to get around that so it makes sense to find it in a regressive state with a regressive governor like Jindal. Its not that surprising their court would rule this way. Any jurist that isn’t an ideologue with the most basic understanding of US law would think this is unconstitutional. But with the politicization of even the courts its possible this might make it to the supreme court (if the state court approved this it would go to the US supreme court) one day. But if it did I still think it would lose. The swing vote would be Kennedy and while he can vote for some religious exceptions he is pretty clear on things like this.

    I think vouchers are a terrible idea no matter what. They are a way to privatize schools so that those who can afford them get high quality and those that can’t get terrible schools. Its pathetic when I think of the excellent education I got at a public school, with advanced classes for STEM and English and great support for music and other programs from the earliest grades. Compared to what most kids in the US public system get now it was so much better.

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