A Louisiana teachers union is threatening private schools with legal action if they accept money from a new voucher program – and the threat has already forced at least one school to put its participation in the program on hold.
The demand was sent a few weeks ago by law firm representing the Louisiana Association of Educators and several other interests, and it argues the state-approved program is illegal because participating schools would be receiving an unconstitutional payment of public funds.
The two-page letter further states if schools don’t agree, then the law firm has “no alternative” than to take legal action.
“Our clients have directed us to take whatever means necessary to prevent the unconstitutional transfer of public money,” wrote Brian Blackwell, of the firm Blackwell & Associates.
The Louisiana program was initiated by Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, and expands on one started in 2008. The state legislature approved the proposal in April, now making the program essentially open to students in kindergarten through grade 12.
“Union leaders are stooping to new lows and trying to strong-arm schools to keep our kids from getting a quality education,” Jindal said.
Blackwell addressed the letter to a reported 95 schools after the union and others failed to persuade a court to stop the program. A district judge denied the group’s July 10 request for an injunction against the state on constitutional grounds. Two weeks later, the group requested a review of the judge’s decision, but that remains pending in an appeals court.
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