A day after two leading school choice advocacy groups and two New Orleans mothers joined a lawsuit in support of the state's controversial voucher program, a state district judge in Baton Rouge has ruled that the voucher program can begin in August.

Three lawsuits are pending against the state following the Legislature's approval of Gov. Bobby Jindal's voucher program for low-income students to attend private schools with public money. The lawsuits were filed against the state by the Louisiana School Boards Association and the two largest teachers' unions in the state, the Louisiana Association of Educators and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.  The three groups claim in their lawsuits that the funding formula for the voucher program is unconstitutional.

At a Tuesday morning hearing in Baton Rouge, Judge Tim Kelley ruled that he cannot issue an injunction to cease the voucher program before it begins in August. He cited a state law that prohibits judicial injunctions if said injunction would cause a budget deficit within the state agency, according to the Baton Rouge Business Report.

State Superintendent of Education John White says it would.

On Monday, a day before Kelley issued his ruling on when the voucher program can start, two leading school choice advocacy groups and two New Orleans mothers whose children are part of the New Orleans voucher program joined the lawsuit in support of the state's voucher initiative.

The Advocate reports that the Black Alliance for Education Options and the Alliance for School Choice, along with mothers Valerie Evans and Kendra Palmer of New Orleans, have filed a petition to intervene on the lawsuit against the state:
Bill Maurer, executive director of the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter, noted that more than 5,000 applications from new families have been received as well as renewal applications from the nearly 2,000 families in the pre-existing New Orleans program, since the recent enactment of the voucher bill.

“The stakes could not be higher,” Maurer said outside the Baton Rouge courthouse. “This gives parents the opportunity to vote with their feet.”
NPR points out in its "Morning Edition" report that the Institute for Justice has provided legal representation for school choice/voucher issues across the country.

Read more here and here.

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