The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

Louisiana - Louisiana Scholarship Program

Enacted 2008 • Launched 2008 • Voucher

Louisiana’s statewide voucher program is available to low-income students in low-performing public schools. Prior to 2012, eligibility was limited to students in specific districts and parishes.

Latest Stats (2013-14)

  • Students participating: 6,775
  • Schools participating: 126
  • Average voucher value: $5,311 (estimate)

Program Details

Student Funding
The voucher is equal to the lesser of 90 percent of the total state and local funding per student in the student’s home school district or the tuition charged by the private school. Schools accepting students using the voucher may not charge those students more than non-voucher students. Students requiring special educational services are eligible for additional voucher funds equal to the federal special education funding in their home districts.

Student Eligibility
Students are eligible if their family income is no more than 250 percent of the federal poverty line and they either (1) attended a public school designated as “C,” “D,” or “F” in the previous year or a turnaround or unscored school, (2) are entering kindergarten, or (3) were enrolled at a public school in the Recovery School District. If more students apply than the program will allow, participation is determined by random lottery. If a particular private school is oversubscribed under the program, the state Department of Education must conduct a randomized lottery to award seats in that school. In that lottery, students from public schools rated “D” or “F” receive priority over students from public schools rated “C.”

Legal Developments
Teachers’ unions and others filed suit to stop Louisiana’s school voucher program from expanding statewide. In July, District Judge Tim Kelley ruled that he did not have jurisdiction to stop the program, as requested by its opponents; that was upheld by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge. In August, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied without opinion the efforts to halt the program. On November 30, the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge ruled the program violated the state’s funding formula. Voucher supporters appealed the program to the state’s Supreme Court, during which students remained in the program. In a separate suit filed by voucher opponents, U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle issued an injunction on November 26, prohibiting the voucher program from being implemented in Tangipahoa Parish. The state’s Superintendent of Education, John White, appealed that ruling. On May 7, 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution’s Minimum Foundation Program public education funding cannot be used to pay tuition costs at nonpublic schools. The Court declined to rule whether a voucher program funded through other means would be constitutional. In June 2013, Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state legislature passed a budget that would fund the nearly 8,000 students approved for vouchers in the 2013- 14 school year. Louisiana Federation of Teachers, et al. v. State of Louisiana, et al., Case No. 2013-CA-0120.

Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: 250 percent x poverty
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: Conditional
• Geographic Limit: Statewide
• Enrollment Cap: None
• Voucher Cap: None
• Testing Mandates: State achievement tests

Governing Statutes
La. Rev. Stat. §§ 17:4011-25

Friedman Contact
Robbie Rhinesmith | robbie@edchoice.org

Related Research

3/19/2012 Louisiana K-12 and School Choice Survey
3/8/2012 Lessons for Louisiana from Florida’s K-12 Education Revolution

Related News

3/12/2014 National Review Online | Choosing to Learn
1/23/2014 U.S. voucher, school choice enrollment reaches record high
9/9/2013 Bloomberg | Obama’s Misguided War Against School Choice
9/5/2013 Fox News | Why does Eric Holder want to deny poor Louisiana kids a good education?
9/4/2013 The Weekly Standard | The Holder-Jindal Collision
9/4/2013 New York Post | Holder in the schoolhouse door
8/19/2013 Washington Times | Five cheers for choice
8/15/2013 Sharing your story in “The ABCs” can be as easy as one, two, three
6/24/2013 Louisiana voucher funding restored
5/13/2013 USA Today | Mothers want more school choices for kids
5/7/2013 Friedman Foundation Calls Louisiana Voucher Decision an “Injustice” to Children
1/23/2013 “The ABCs of School Choice,” 2013 Edition, Now Available
12/11/2012 Huffington Post | Bobby Jindal Defends Louisiana School Vouchers, Says Equal Education Opportunity is a Lie
12/10/2012 Joplin Globe | For Teacher Unions, Money and Power Most Important Goals
12/7/2012 Enlow | Louisiana Voucher Students Don’t Need to be Kicked Off School Choice Lifeboat
12/4/2012 Enlow | Education News | Louisiana Voucher Students Don't Need to Be Kicked Off School Choice Lifeboat
12/3/2012 Foundry | Louisiana Unions Fight School Choice, Opportunity for Children
12/3/2012 Enlow | Louisiana Voucher Students Don't Need to be Kicked Off School Choice Lifeboat
11/30/2012 Louisiana Judge Rules Funding System for Vouchers Unconstitutional, Appeal Expected
9/14/2012 Enlow | Louisiana School Choice Program Already Helping Students
9/13/2012 Enlow | Louisiana School Choice Program Already Changing Students Lives for the Better
8/27/2012 President's Comments: School Choice Still Rising with More States Coming on Board
7/26/2012 Pelican Post | Louisiana Teachers Union Threatens Voucher Schools with Litigation
7/23/2012 Friedman Foundation Responds to the Accountability Rules for New Louisiana Voucher Program
7/2/2012 Pelican Post | Louisiana Voucher Applications Roll Forward Despite Union Lawsuits
6/17/2012 The Daily Advertiser | Vouchers Usually Tested in Court
4/18/2012 Louisiana Governor Signs School Choice Expansion Into Law
4/13/2012 Education Week | La. School Choice Options Expand After Sweeping Education Overhaul
4/12/2012 Wall Street Journal | School Vouchers Gain Ground
4/6/2012 AP | School Vouchers Spark Growing Court Fights in US
4/5/2012 Louisiana Governor’s School Voucher Plan Clears Legislature
3/20/2012 Times-Picayune | Citizens Support Gov. Jindal's Voucher Expansion, Poll Shows
3/19/2012 New Poll Shows Bayou State Supports School Choice
3/8/2012 Study Shows Louisiana Students Can Benefit From More School Choice

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