Jindal on school voucher ruling: 'We will fund it through the budget'
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Just hours after the Supreme Court made the ruling that the funding method for a private school tuition voucher program is unconstitutional, Gov. Bobby Jindal released a statement about the ruling saying the "scholarship program is alive and well."
Tuesday's 6-1 decision upholds a state district court ruling that the state constitution forbids using money earmarked for public schools in the state's Minimum Foundation Program to pay for private school tuition.
Here is the statement from Governor Bobby Jindal:
"This ruling means that the Scholarship Program is alive and well. I've looked these parents and their children in the eyes and I know how important it is to give them the opportunity to get a better education. Before this reform, 44 percent of our schools were failing, we were spending nearly a billion dollars on failing schools and one-third of students were performing below grade level.
"Now the number of failing schools is decreasing, scores are increasing and more Louisiana families finally have a choice. The number of parents who want to be part of the Scholarship Program has grown by nearly 3,000 this year.
"We're disappointed the funding mechanism was rejected, but we are committed to making sure this program continues and we will fund it through the budget. The bottom line is that our kids only get one chance to grow up and we are committed to making sure choice is alive and families can send their children to the school of their choice."
The Jindal administration has pushed on with the voucher program, despite the previous court rulings. Roughly 8,000 students have been approved for vouchers in the coming school year.
According to the Governor's office, "these 8,000 first-round offers mark nearly 3,000 more scholarships offered to students than in 2012. Roughly 12,000 families across the state expressed interest in participating in the Louisiana Scholarship Program this spring, up from approximately 10,000 families in 2012."
It remains unclear how the program will be funded, now that use of the MFP money has been struck down.
BESE responds to Louisiana Supreme Court ruling on Scholarship Program
Chas Roemer, president of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, issued a statement in response to today's ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court on the state's Scholarship Program.
"We remain committed as a Board to providing high-quality options for students across the state and will continue to fight for children and families' access to these opportunities," said Roemer.
Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.