Tuesday, July 31, 2012

LFT statement on demands made of voucher schools

We understand that letters have been sent to schools that will accept vouchers. The letters demand that schools sign a statement saying that they will not take voucher money from the state. Unless the schools agree, the letter says, litigation will be instituted against them.

This action was not taken by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, and is not part of the consolidated lawsuit filed by the LFT and others.

LFT believes that Governor Jindal’s voucher scheme is unconstitutional and that it will damage the educational opportunities for the vast majority of Louisiana’s children. That is why we filed suit to halt the voucher program.

Our legal challenge is aimed at the State of Louisiana and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for approving a blatantly illegal and harmful program. It is not a fight with the private and religious schools that believe they are acting in good faith by accepting the money offered by the state.

To be clear, 19th Judicial District Judge Tim Kelly was asked at a recent hearing what recourse the state would have if, after schools begin accepting voucher funds, the law is ruled unconstitutional. Judge Kelly said at the time that suits could be filed to recover the funds.

It is not the intention of the LFT to cause any harm to private and religious schools. It is a shame that Gov. Jindal, the legislature and BESE have created a situation that may wind up disrupting the education of children in our state and causing distress for the private and religious schools that were drawn into their scheme.

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