State Judge Tim Kelley declared today that the way Louisiana lawmakers created the statewide private school voucher program was constitutional, but the way it was funded was not.
Kelley said the case had nothing to do with whether or not public funds can be used to support vouchers, but he said the state couldn’t do so through the public school funding formula known as the MFP.
The district court ruling is a victory for the teacher unions and school boards that want to stop the voucher program and others that would funnel money away from public schools.
While only a handful of the more than 1500 bills pre-filed for consideration by lawmakers over the next 12 weeks address education, debate over Gov. Bobby Jindal's reform proposals are expected to get a large share of the floor time.
Jindal kicked off the session Monday with a 25-minute speech pitching his plans for improving Louisiana's standing in national education rankings.
"If we demand excellence on the football fields as we should, we should be demanding excellence in the classrooms as well," Jindal said.
The governor again urged lawmakers to go along with plans to tie teacher pay and tenure to student achievement and use public school funding to pay for a private school voucher program.
The proposals could be voted on in committee as soon as Wednesday.
In his inaugural speech Monday, Governor Bobby Jindal made clear that he would be pushing for education reform to kick off his second term. But while Jindal went on at length about getting Louisiana’s students better opportunities, the speech was short on details for how he plans to do that.