Parents denounce Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposed funding cuts to Louisiana Scholarship Program

DSC_0989 webThe Louisiana Federation for Children (LFC), the state’s voice for educational choice, held a press conference at the Louisiana Capitol on April 28, where parents called on Governor John Bel Edwards to fully fund the Louisiana Scholarship Program.

Parents were joined by clergy members to voice their opposition to Governor Edwards’ proposed budget that would drastically reduce funding for the program. The governor included $36 million in House Bill 1 to fund the Scholarship program – far below the current budget amount of $42 million and less than the $47 million needed.

“If you take away their funding, you’re basically telling (children) you expect them to fail,” said Baton Rouge parent Kendra Williams.

Pamela Gauthier says the Louisiana Scholarship Program ensures a brighter future for her son Joseph, who has Down syndrome. Joseph attends Greater Baton Rouge Hope Academy, a school that serves students with learning disabilities.

“Within two years he has turned around tremendously and shown great improvement academically, as well as socially,” said Gauthier.

Following LFC’s press conference parents took their message to the governor’s press room where he was conducting his own media briefing.

Michael Benjamin, National Director of Grassroots Advocacy and Outreach for the American Federation for Children, said children are often left out of the conversation. “It’s never about the kids. In the meantime, kids are suffering.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 8.30.49 AM

Press Conference Video: