Program still exists but needs a new funding mechanism
Louisiana's Supreme Court has ruled that the funding method for a private school tuition voucher program pushed through the Legislature last year by Gov. Bobby Jindal is unconstitutional.
Tuesday's 6-1 decision said the state constitution forbids using money earmarked for public schools in the state's Minimum Foundation Program to pay for private school tuition.
The high court also ruled that the MFP formula was not legally approved last year — in part because it received only 51 votes in the House when 53 were needed.
The voucher program still exists, but it now needs funding.
Governor Jindal reacted by saying, "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."
There is still time during the current legislative session for lawmakers to provide funding for the program from the state general fund but it is unclear whether legislators will fund only the costs for the current voucher program for 5,000 students or will also include money for the planned expansion to 8,000.
Voucher supporters will need to press to get the money added to the state general fund at the same time the legislature is trying to deal with a deficit.