Jindal Reform Routes Tax Dollars to Religious Schools

Of the 125 schools approved to accept taxpayer funds under Louisiana’s new school voucher law, 115 (92%) are affiliated with a church or other religious organization.

From Americans United:

Louisiana has an incredibly bad record when it comes to taxpayer aid to religious schools.

Back in the 1920s, Gov. Huey Long pushed a bill through the legislature giving textbooks to Catholic schools at taxpayer expense. The state has been the site of repeated efforts to siphon tax dollars away from public schools into the coffers of religious schools ever since.

The Jindal administration released the list of schools which will participate in the voucher program starting this fall. Nine are private yet not directly connected with a religious purpose, and one is a public school. Almost all are religious and located in urban areas along the I-10 corridor. Here’s some additional data:

  • 380,000 = Total estimated eligible students statewide
  • 7,450 = Total number of slots
  • 125 = Total number of participating schools
  • 115 = Religious private schools
  • 9 = Non-religious private schools
  • 1 = public school 
  • ~12 = Participating schools in North & Central Louisiana
  • 33 = Parishes with approved schools
  • $8,500 = taxpayer money per voucher

“I can tell you that this is not a Louisiana agenda. This is a national agenda to do away with public education as we know it.” Rep. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs

Apart from potential lawsuits which would challenge the vouchers on religious grounds, there may be more legal battles on the horizon for Jindal’s vouchers. The Louisiana Federation of Teachers opposed the voucher program citing the unconstitutional routing of public Minimum Funding Program (MFP) dollars into private hands. The union, led by President Steve Monaghan, has promised a lawsuit against the state on these grounds.

Another interesting development comes from one of the most conservative parts of the state. The St. Tammany Parish School Board approved a resolution to possibly challenge the education reform package on several constitutional grounds, in coordination with the Louisiana School Board Association and other school boards across the state. One of the principal grounds is also the routing of public school MFP funding into private schools – something that deprives school boards of much-needed funds. The folks in St. Tammany say that suing the state is the only way they can fight to save their public school system.

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Posted on May 23, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Vicky Johnston

    In Lake Charles,Eternity Christian Academy only had 14 students in 2010. Now they have seats for 135. No test scores for parents to look at, no reviews online, but the state is going to pay for students to go there? Just asking!

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  2. Vicky Johnston

    Question…if students had to be enrolled in a C, D, or F school in the previous school year, why are all these schools providing seats in Kindergarten? PreK isn’t mandatory.

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  3. The tag line used to rally support for the voucher/scholarship program was to provide all Louisiana children a quality education. If there are an estimated 380,000 students eligible for vouchers and only 7,450 vouchers available, what about the other 372,550 students? What if a child is approved to receive a voucher, but the nearest school is not in their parish; who will be required to provide transportation to and from the school? With 7,450 students, and 125 schools taking voucher students, that is an average of 60 students per school. Do these schools really have the facilities, staff, resources to provide a quality education? What happens if a voucher student requires special assistance and the closest school accepting vouchers does not have the necessary facilities to provide those services? 115 of the 125 schools are religion based school. By providing taxpayer funds to those schools, which routinely include the precepts and teachings of their religion in the curriculum, that is equivalent to taxpayer support of religion. According to the US Constitution, an individual can not be forced to support any religion. So, what guarantees will be provided that taxpayer funds will not be used for religious education?

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  4. Vicky Johnston

    http://www.eternitychristianacademy.com/about.html. This is where the state of Louisiana might possibly spend $8500 per student times 135 students for a grand total of….$1,147,500

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  5. Interesting that there is no physical address shown for the academy.

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  6. Vicky Johnston

    933 North Shattuck St.

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  7. The GOP on their never ending march to turn out country into a theocracy. Just like the Taliban.

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  8. The GOP on their never ending march to turn this country into a theocracy. Just like the Taliban.

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  9. Gov.Jindal’s education school voucher programs, eventually will be entirely managed by NONPROFTS and CONPROFITS, businesses, churches and pastors –some with questionable conduct, some not very competent, and some closely linked with politicians who received corruption indictments, and jail.

    Disturbing about the educational situation is the lack of information regarding accountability of the churches and businesses that manage the “education” programs –and not enough lawmakers REQUIRE accountability! Even people who don’t have school children or who aren’t school system employees can be harmed from this not-well-developed Education / Additional-Corruption incentive!

    Furthermore, too many preachers and pastors unfortunately AREN’T teaching about God. Some are seeking lavished lifestyles; some are dangerously deluded, and some are abusing nonprofit statuses. Summarily, the education “initiative” needs more time at the discussion table!

    “SHOCKING: Bobby Jindal’s Vouchers Will Provide Over $700,000 Per Year To School Led by “Prophet, Apostle.” @ http://cenlamar.com/2012/08/07/shocking-bobby-jindals-vouchers-will-provide-over-600000-per-year-to-school-led-by-prophet-apostle/

    “EDUCATION IS THE DEBBIL” @ http://wonkette.com/474335/louisiana-gop-does-not-believe-the-children-are-our-future

    “Nonprofit Charities and A News Story (and Religion)” @ http://www.lawgrace.org/2012/08/11/nonprofit-charities-and-a-news-story-and-religion/

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