Judge rules voucher law conflicts with deseg order

BATON ROUGE, LA (AP) - A New Orleans-based federal judge has halted Governor Bobby Jindal's voucher program in Tangipahoa Parish, saying it conflicts with a decades-old desegregation case. 

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ruled Monday that a series of sweeping education changes clash with court orders in the 47-year-old desegregation case. Those changes include the voucher program and a revamp of teacher job protections.

The voucher program pays private school tuition for some students from low-performing schools. School system attorneys argue it diverts state money from local schools - and from efforts to comply with orders in the 1965 desegregation case.

Superintendent of Education John White said the ruling will be appealed.

The ruling could have implications beyond Tangipahoa Parish.

Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan estimates 30-40 other Louisiana school districts are under federal desegregation orders and could ultimately be affected if the judge's ruling holds up.

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