Posted: Jun 7, 2012 6:36 PM by Michael Shingleton
Updated: Jun 7, 2012 6:36 PM
BATON ROUGE - The state's largest teacher associations among others filed two lawsuits Thursday morning challenging parts of Governor Bobby Jindal's education reform plan.
It took the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and other smaller teacher groups less than an hour to file two lawsuits at the 19th Judicial District Court detailing why they believe parts of the plan are unconstitutional.
The lawsuit claims the voucher program, which provides private school scholarships for some students in low performing schools with state money, is unconstitutional. They claim offering scholarships to private and religious schools violates the state constitution.
In both lawsuits, claims are made there should have been more bills instead of what was crammed into one.
"We're willing to talk but we're not willing to talk and watch the law be violated and the constitution kicked to the side of the road," LFT President Steve Monaghan said.
The lawsuits also claim the legislature didn't have the two-thirds votes required to pass the state's funding formula for schools late in the session.
In a statement sent to News 2, Governor Bobby Jindal said, "Forty-four percent of our public schools are failing, 225,000 students are below grade level, and our state is spending a billion dollars a year on failing schools. That's unacceptable. The people of Louisiana demand and deserve better. The coalition of the status quo have fought reform every step of the way, so it is no surprise they are making this last ditch effort to convince the courts to overrule the vote of the people and the Legislature. Holding up these reforms in court will only deny parents and students the opportunity to escape failing schools. Our kids do not get a second chance to grow up."
The lawsuit is assigned to Judges Tim Kelley and Michael Caldwell. Mohaghan expects to have a ruling before August.