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School Voucher Lawsuit Hits Home

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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Public tax dollars, should they be used to support non-public educations?

Closing arguments will be heard in Baton Rouge on Friday, in a lawsuit challenging Governor Bobby Jindal's statewide voucher program and calling it unconstitutional.


School boards from across the state, including here in the ARKLAMISS, have joined the lawsuit.

Almost 5,000 students in Louisiana are enrolled in the program this school year.

It allows parents of students attending failing schools to send their children to other schools using the voucher program and state tax dollars.

Ouachita Parish Superintendent, Dr. Bob Webber says, "many of our schools did not rank C, D, or F."

As a result Ouachita Schools are losing only a few students to the program, but they're joining the lawsuit as a precaution anyway.

Webber says, "you just want to make sure that funds are used as they were voted by the voters to be used in the correct manor."

The state provides Ouachita Parish about $8,000 for each child it teaches.

Webber says, "so every time we lose a child we lose approximately $8,000 so that's a concern."

Monroe Federation of Teachers President Sandie Lollie says that hurts public schools, "some of the initiatives could address improving public education opposed to just throwing public education out."

Lollie says one of their main concerns is making sure public money is spent funding public education.

She says, "if you want to use a private institution you need to fund it yourself."

Both Lollie and Dr. Webber say another concern is non-public schools don't have to follow the same guidelines as public schools.

Dr. Webber says, "private schools that receive voucher students should have to operate under the same guidelines public schools have to."

He says he just wants to make sure students get the best education possible, public or private.

Those in the lawsuit also claim lawmakers didn't follow the proper legislative process.


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