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Louisiana's Scholarship Program: Parents Speak Out

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Louisiana's Scholarship Program has been in the spotlight for many months.

Wednesday night, the state superintendent met with parents who have children in the program, to hear about their experiences.

One mom says her son loves school, and is learning more than ever, but it hasn't always been that way.

Mom Adrienne Gowan says, "it was during the second and third grade that we started having trouble with the schools, and I felt like something needed to be done."

Gowan even considered moving to get her son in a better school; but when she heard about the state's scholarship program, she felt it was a gift.

She says, "especially for like my son who was struggling in school but had no other way of getting any type of education."

Others don't feel that way, and believe the program isn't being funded correctly.

In November, a Baton Rouge judge ruled the private school voucher program to be unconstitutional.

Louisiana State Superintendent, John White, says "ultimately we know that there are families and policy makers who are going to stand up for this program, and make sure these families can stay in their schools."

White says, for now the program will stay as is; but parents like Gowan, say they are concerned about it's future.

She says, "I don't even want to think about if I have to tell him that he can't go to this school anymore."

White says, "we told them we are going to find a way to make sure this continues for their child. They're wondering why somebody would take this away from their child."

Gowan says this program has changed her son's life.

She says, "to go from crying every night, saying I don't want to go to school; to every Sunday night saying I want to go back to school."

White says they are appealing the court's decision, and feel confident it will be overturned.

Superintendent White also presented a check for $150,000 to Ouachita Parish Schools, as a part of the department's "Believe and Include" grant initiative.

The money will go to schools to spur innovation that will directly impact student achievement for students with special needs.

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