BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that funding the state voucher program with funds intended for public schools is unconstitutional.Bobby and the legislators who went along with the voucher plan will now have to find another way to pay for the vouchers. This in a state where there is a constant struggle to balance the budget, and where the rule is cut, cut, cut, because the governor refuses to raise any taxes at all. I wonder if Bobby and the legislators even pay attention to the Louisiana Constitution when they write and pass laws. When there is no money, it seems strange to pass laws that will almost certainly be challenged in court, with the state having to pay for litigation costs to defend the laws. Or, in their arrogance, do Bobby and his supporters in the legislature think the court will not notice, and they'll get away with the foolishness?
The Supreme Court ruling states "After reviewing the record, the legislative instruments and the constitutional provisions at issue, we agree with the district court that once funds are dedicated to the state's Minimum Foundation Program for public education, the constitution prohibits those funds from being expended on the tuition costs of nonpublic schools and nonpublic entities...."
I love the picture of Bobby in the Shreveport Times in what appears to be a jaw-dropping moment.
UPDATE: More on the consequences of the court ruling at the Advocate.
The ruling, a setback for Gov. Bobby Jindal, upheld and expanded on a ruling last year by the 19th Judicial District Court Judge Timothy Kelley.
It sets up a late session battle on how to finance the aid, which triggered weeks of pointed arguments last year.
In addition, Michael Faulk, president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, said the decision will force the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to come up with a new plan to fund public schools for the 2013-14 school year.
The one approved earlier this year includes the use of public school dollars to fund vouchers. “It is going to have a big impact,” Faulk said of the ruling.