Education

Nov 30, 2012 11:42 PM by Steven Albritton

Jindal Voucher Program Ruled "Unconstitutional"

Many questions remain unanswered as Governor Bobby Jindal's school voucher program was ruled unconstitutional. In Opelousas, Park Vista Elementary School is the only public school in the state accepting voucher students. While Friday's ruling specifically targeted taxpayer money going to private schools, officials at Park Vista don't know where they stand.

"It's just a long line of things this school year that brings about some more uncertainty. That was my first initial reaction," Principal Ulysse Joubert said.

Joubert personally likes the voucher program, he says the kids who decided to come to his school have fit in since day one and are doing well.

"The only thing I'm interested in really is the children because as many of those as possible that we can save, then every time we save one that's a success story," he said.

The voucher program has been controversial since day one. Carencro State Representative Stephen Ortego voted against the bill.

"It's obvious that whenever you look at it on its surface, that it's against the Louisiana constitution. The reason why the constitution is written the way it is, is to protect public education," he said.

Now, five private schools in Lafayette Parish, along with schools in Vermilion, St. Landry, and St. Mary Parishes, will have to wait and see what will happen next with the voucher students.

"We all know that there are some problems in public education, but we need to follow the constitution at the same time, and we need to do more of the things we're doing right in public education," Ortego said.

As a result of the law, there are more than 4900 students enrolled in 117 private schools across the state. This is the second defeat for the Jindal voucher program this week. Earlier, in Tangipahoa Parish, a federal judge said the program conflicts with an old desegregation case. The ruling put an end to the vouchers there.

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