School Choice

Louisiana Build-Your-Own Curriculum Threatened by Court Decision

Freedom of choice, meet the legal system

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A recent ruling declaring Gov. Bobby Jindal's school voucher program unconstitutional threatens another component of his administration's education reform agenda: allowing students to take courses from non-traditional sources on the taxpayer's dime. On Tuesday, a key committee of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education authorized a list of providers for the Course Choice program, despite questions about how the program can now be funded.

State District Judge Tim Kelley, a Republican, ruled Friday that Louisiana's school reform law, passed by the Legislature earlier this year, unconstitutionally diverts money from the Minimum Foundation Program—the formula under which per-pupil funds are calculated—to private and parochial schools. 

The ruling also states that it is illegal to use money from the MFP for the Course Choice program for similar reasons. The state has said it will appeal the 19th District Court decision.