Jindal Vouchers’ Price Tag

There is a staggeringly large amount of money at stake in Governor Jindal’s voucher plan (HB-976). How much?

$1.9 Billion every fiscal year.

Here’s how you get that number.

First, everyone agrees that about 53% of Louisiana public school students will be eligible for vouchers because they attend public schools that are graded at the C, D, or F performance levels. That is about 380,000 students.

Since the plan is for the ‘money to follow the student’ (Louisiana Constitution be damned!), that means the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) funding would be tapped to provide that money. The state’s portion of the MFP averages out to just over $5,000 per student, but varies from parish to parish. But, $5,000 is a safe, conservative estimate.

So, take your $5,000 per student and multiply that by the number of students (380,000) and you get the number shown in the check above — One billion, nine-hundred million dollars.

Oh, the Governor and his friends say, don’t worry! There’s not room for that many students to be admitted by private schools.

Right, but $1,900,000,000 is a mighty nice pool of money to help incentivize the creation of a heck of a lot more private schools. And, that money will be available every fiscal year.

Over five years, Jindal’s voucher plan will make $9.5 Billion available to schools that don’t exist right now. Over the next ten years, that will become $19 Billion. Every penny of that is Louisiana taxpayer dollars (again, in violation of Article VII, Section 13 of the Louisiana Constitution). All of it will be going into the coffers of school operators who will not have the performance of their schools assessed or graded and who will not have to hire certified teachers to staff those classrooms.

Get ready to see an explosion of new private school openings in Louisiana in coming years if the Jindal voucher plan goes into law. It’s guaranteed to be good for the school operators and their investors — even contractors.

They’re so happy they can hardly count.

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Posted on April 1, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Recently the wonderful state of LA by the hands of Gov. Jindal signed  into law a bill allowing vouchers funded by federal tax dollars to be used at Christian private schools.  These are funds being robbed from a failing public school system in dire need of money. As a resident of LA I am appalled that my tax dollars will be poured into these tax-exempt institutions. Am I wrong in thinking this new law should at the very least be amended to tax these sheep factories??  

    Christian Eternity Academy has been rumored to receive 135 vouchers. It’s enrollment last year..38. So MY tax dollars now pay to indoctrinate over 300% more students!! How is it not a violation of Separation of Church and State to funnel federal funds into a school that declares in its mission statement to provide “a quality faith-based curriculum that is soley [sic] based on principles from the Bible …”???? On a positive note, New Living Word in Ruston, LA which touts of a top-ranked basketball team, has expressed interest in obtaining the most vouchers for one school. 314 students may now have the opportunity to shoot some hoops with some of our states greatest b-ballers.. the only downside? This school has no library and curriculum is taught primarily through bible verse riddled misinforming instructional DVDs. Sounds like a step in the right direction toward a better quality education to me!! 

    Who will monitor whether these funds are in fact being used for their intended purpose? The state or the church parish? And since these schools will now receive federal monies will they now be required to adhere to the same curriculum and standardized testing they were formerly exempt from? Will teachers at these  voucher-approved schools being required to hold the same qualifications as public school teachers? 

    From my understanding, only 1 Jewish school (which had no available openings remaining when I checked) and 5 non-faith based schools were on the list of 120+ approved schools. The one Islamic academy withdrew their request to participating in the program after remarks put forth ever so elegantly by Kenneth Harvey…”I won’t go back to home and explain to my people that I supported this [program that] will fund Islamic teaching.” this from the Republican LA State Representative who actively advocated the law before learning the Islamic school had been approved. It’s not just Republicans want a cookie-cutter image of which schools should be approved. Democratic Representative Sam Jones vagrantly voiced his opposition allowing a wide variety of faith-based private schools approval by saying “It’ll be the Church of Scientology next year”. These comments only prove that our state government is only willing to overlook the funding of religion if that religion is comparable to their collective own. 

    Of these 120 schools the closest non-faith based one to my home is over 70 miles away and does not have available spots for my three children(no non-faith schools do). My children all attend schools with below average scores, oversized classrooms, and unqualified, unmotivated teachers. Luckily, due to efforts by my husband and myself and their natural (not god-given) intellect, their educational and critical thinking development far exceeds the school average. What if other parents are not so lucky. If I were a struggling single mother with children enrolled in a failing school faced with the choice of allowing my child to continue suffering with inadequate educational resources or force them to participate in a school that while possibly(just maybe) offers a higher quality education, skews reality and hinders free thinking. It is a lose-lose situation.

    After a little research on the ‘A Beka Book’ textbook books that a number of these schools use as part of their curriculum (ACE), my frustration quickly evolved into rage. So..just to clarify, not only is my money funding a religious organization against my will, but it will be used to purchase scientifically inaccurate garbage designed to saturate young minds with nonsense and subdue free thinking?? I just happened to come across a few A Beka Book books, granted these are not the textbooks used in schools but “free reading” type books. I snuggled up with “Liberty Tree”, grabbed my trusty highlighter, and set out to concentrate on only blatant attempts of brainwashing or obvious inaccuracies. I paused a moment to rationalize the comprehension of a fourth grader and vowed to be as unbiased as possible. Let’s just say, 57 pages in and three dehydrated highlighters later,I conceded. Yep, the myths are true. This entire book series is plastered with religious influence, racism, and fallacies. Not to mention grammatical errors-hope they at least spent a little more time in editing on the textbook series.  Propaganda can only be productive if presented in a perfect grammatical context. 

    So, I asked myself, what can I do now? How do I make a difference? I must stop the maddness! So my intent is to reach out to every lawmaker, every newspaper, every media outlet, every free thinking Louisiana resident–hell every American, that I can. I will not remain silent when my children are being robbed of a quality education on my dime. We allegedly live in a democratic society for the people and by the people. So, this here officially begins my rally for my children and the potential millions of children in the US who will be affected by this.

  1. Pingback: Louisiana’s bold bid to privatize schools – John Malcolm

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