Teachers win as state high court kills Louisiana voucher law

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NEW ORLEANS (PAI) - Yet another Republican statewide scheme to trash public schools and school teachers, especially unionized teachers, ran afoul of yet another state constitution on May 7, as Louisiana's Supreme Court killed the state's voucher law, which let public funds-through the vouchers-go to private schools.

The 5-1 ruling overturned a favorite initiative of GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal and the radical right. rightists view vouchers as a way to undercut teacher unions.

"After reviewing the record, the legislative instruments, and the constitutional provisions at issue, we agree with the district court that once funds are dedicated to the state's Minimum Foundation Program for public education, the constitution prohibits those funds from being expended on the tuition costs of nonpublic schools and nonpublic entities," the court majority wrote.

"Unlike the district court, we also find the procedures employed to enact" a concurrent resolution implementing the vouchers "violated the constitution inasmuch as that legislative instrument was intended to have the effect of law, but several requirements for enacting law were not observed," the justices added.

"The state's highest court affirmed what we believed all along," said Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan in an outdoor press conference after the decision. "Our constitution clearly states that public education's Minimum Foundation Program is reserved for public schools and public school systems.

"The ruling is a victory for the constitution and for the rule of law. It is a rebuff to an administration that railroaded the voucher bill through the legislature. In today's ruling, the court restated the simple fact that no governor and no legislature have the right to ride roughshod over the foundational principles of our government," he added.

Photo: People's World

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