This just isn’t Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) year. First his plan to end state hospice care was deemed so unpopular, he had to back down. Then his regressive tax plan, which would have eliminated state income taxes altogether, was rejected by his own allies.
And now his school voucher scheme has been rejected by state courts, too.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that the current method of funding the statewide school voucher program is unconstitutional. Act 2, part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 2012 package of education reforms, diverts money from each student’s per-pupil allocation to cover the cost of private or parochial school tuition. The act authorizes both the Louisiana Scholarship Program and the new Course Choice program.
The vote was 6-1, with Justice Greg Guidry dissenting. The plaintiffs in the case include the Louisiana Association of Educators, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana School Boards Association.
The ruling states that the per-pupil allocation, called the minimum foundation program or MFP, must go to public schools. Justice John Weimer writes, “The state funds approved through the unique MFP process cannot be diverted to nonpublic schools or other nonpublic course providers according to the clear, specific and unambiguous language of the constitution.”
Jindal’s voucher policy has been plagued by a series of problems, including directing public funds to “schools” with truly bizarre lesson plans, and financing religious ministries led by some, shall we say, eccentric pastors.
But in the end, Jindal just couldn’t get around the fact that the state constitution won’t allow him to divert public education funds to private entities.
It’s all part of the governor’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.