Louisiana Charter Students Face Uncertain Future

Students in Louisiana are facing an uncertain future as the teachers union and school district have won an appeal 3-2 which overturned a 2015 ruling on charter school funding. This ruling declared that funding certain types of charter schools, serving 13,000 Louisiana students, with tax dollars is unconstitutional. The decision read, in part, that some charter schools”are not public schools in the sense of the Louisiana Constitution.”

Louisiana parent leader for publicschooloptions.org Christin White-Kaiser said in a press release “The decision handed down from the appeals court yesterday is stunning and wrong. Their decision to overturn the lower court’s ruling puts in serious jeopardy the education of over 13,000 students. It also endangers the rights of parents to choose the best educational option for their child. We urge the state board of education to appeal this decision and let the Louisiana Supreme Court bring final clarity to the case. We are confident the Supreme Court will side with students and families, not the teachers union, and assert the constitutional guarantees and rights of students attending public charter schools.”

If the suit is successful, many students would be forced back into a district school that has already failed them if their parents lack the ability to pay for private school. State Schools Superintendent says that the fight isn’t over, promising an appeal. “This lawsuit is only about money,” he said, questioning the motives of the plaintiffs, “It disregards the rights of parents to choose the schools that are best for their unique children.”

However, Chief Judge Vanessa Whipple and Judge Guy Holdridge called the majority’s interpretation “tortured,” NOLA.com reports, saying “”The constitution is clear that all public schools should be funded with MFP funds,” Holdridge wrote in the dissent. “There are no exceptions in the language of the constitution that provide that public schools that are not part of the parish or city school systems are somehow different from other public schools or that they should be funded differently.”