State’s scholarship program on the chopping block

The Louisiana Scholarship program has landed on the chopping block during this week’s legislative session. I caught up with some educators and parents here in Lafayette who say this could would have a devastating effect on students.

“School funding should not be an option of cutting in any state,” said Manzy Williams.

The legislature budgeted 42 million dollars for the voucher program this year and over 7-thousand students are enrolled.

Williams has a son in public school, she’s filling out an application at Gethsemane Christian Academy for next school year, and hopes to use the voucher program.

“My child is in a public school and he has 30 children in his class. He’s not really getting the attention that he needs because there are behavior issues and a lot of things going on in the classroom that the teacher has to tend to,”  Williams said.

Through the scholarship program low-income families can attend participating private schools at taxpayers expense.

The student, however, must be enrolled at a low graded public school with a –C, D, or F, or entering kindergarten to qualify.

“The public schools on this end of town are all failing schools, so why not allow the parents an option,” Said the principal of Gethsemane Christian Academy, Randy Pitre.

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says the program saves the state 23 million dollars a year — it cost them about $5,000 per voucher student versus about $8,800 for public school students.

The Louisiana Department of Education agreed, sending the legislature a report on Friday saying it’s about $3,300 cheaper for the state to assign a voucher than to send a child to public school.

“One on one instructions, small, the classes are small, therefore they get that extra assistance that they would not be afforded in the public school,”said Pitre.

“With this, that’ll be that out that our children will be able to experience, a different situation from the public school system,” said Williams.

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