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Louisiana Supreme Court strikes down school voucher law

The Louisiana Supreme Court [official website] decided [opinion, PDF] 6-1 on Tuesday to strike down a law which funds school tuition vouchers for private schools. The court held that the law's diversion of funds from the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) to non-public schools violated Article VIII, Section 13(B) [text] of the Louisiana Constitution, which requires the state to allocate funds to public schools according to a formula. Additionally, the court held that the law was not legally approved by the legislature since it only received 51 of the 53 required votes in the state House. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal [official website] is a strong supporter of the school voucher plan and helped push the bill through [AP report] the state legislature. The governor released a statement [text] on Tuesday expressing his disappointment with the court's decision but said that he remains committed to continuing the program through budget funding.

School voucher programs have been controversial over the past decade. Opponents of school vouchers [NEA advocacy website] argue that such programs do not achieve their stated goal of expanding educational opportunities and that they undermine public education. In March the Indiana Supreme Court upheld [JURIST report] the state's school voucher program. In 2008 an appeals court in Arizona struck down [JURIST report] the state's school voucher program. In 2006 the Florida Supreme court struck down [JURIST report] that state's school voucher law, which was signed into law by then-governor Jeb Bush.

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