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Voucher controversy and uncertainty leaves parents in limbo

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BATON ROUGE - Private schools and Governor Bobby Jindal tell benefactors not to worry, but parents are the ones left in a state of uncertainty when it comes to vouchers.

Tuesday, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled funding of the state's voucher program was unconstitutional. Lawmakers used money set aside for public schools and moved it to fund private school vouchers.

The ruling didn't surprise Jehovah-Jireh Christian Academy Principal Glenda Colbert.

"I really wasn't shocked or devastated," she said. "I hate it for the parents though."

Parents expressed their dismay as they continued to register their children at Hosanna Christian Academy despite the ruling.

"Now, it's left up to enrolling her in the school that's in her district; a failing school," mother Wykita Rice said. Her daughter was scheduled to receive a voucher to Hosanna next year.

"He could end up at one of the inner city schools and I do not want that," grandmother Chantang Jackson said. She's putting her grandson through Hosanna with the help of a voucher as well.

Governor Jindal promised parents he'll put the $44 million that would fund the program back in the budget. But, he'll need the help of lawmakers to pass the bill on to taxpayers.

That doesn't sit well with other parents who oppose vouchers and have shared their concerns with educators.

"Many of these same parents said as they left that they're mad that their children can't get the vouchers and if they could they would stay. But because they can't, they're leaving to go pay tuition somewhere else," Hosanna Director Josh Lasage said.

More than 400 students qualified for Hosanna Christian vouchers next year.



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