Louisiana Legislature votes to Fully Fund the Louisiana Scholarship Program
Baton Rouge, La. (June 12, 2015) — The Louisiana Federation for Children, the state’s voice for educational choice, applauds the passage of House Bill 1. Late Thursday night, the Louisiana House of Representatives voted to fully fund the Louisiana Scholarship Program for the 2015-2016 school year. With a bipartisan vote of 80-19, House Bill 1 provides $42 million to Louisiana’s school choice program. The Senate passed HB1 with a 37-2 vote.
“The Louisiana Scholarship Program is essential to thousands of Louisiana schoolchildren from low-income families who are desperately seeking quality educational options,” said Ann Duplessis, president of the Louisiana Federation for Children. “We thank Louisiana’s legislators who recognized the importance of giving parents access to quality education options that work best for their individual needs.”
HB1 will next go to Gov. Bobby Jindal to be signed.
More than 13,000 students applied for a scholarship, with 7,632 enrolling in a participating, state-approved private school of their parents’ choice during the 2014-2015 school year. Participation in the Louisiana Scholarship Program has grown steadily since the statewide expansion of the program in 2012, when 4,967 students received scholarships.
Statewide standardized test scores released by the Louisiana Department of Education show scholarship students’ scores have improved by 13 percentage points between 2010 and 2014, while public school students’ scores remained flat.
- Since 2010, the percentage of students in the program scoring Basic or above has improved from 31 percent to 44 percent.
- Since 2008, the percent of scholarship students at the basic level and above in third grade English Language Arts has increased 24 percentage points, while math scores have increased by 23 percentage points.
- Since 2013, the percent of students testing at mastery level and above has increased two percentage points.
Created in 2008 and expanded statewide in 2012, the Louisiana Scholarship Program allows low-income families with students in failing public schools or students entering kindergarten for the first time to transfer to the private school of their choice.
The Louisiana Federation for Children (LFC), the state’s voice for educational choice, is a project of the American Federation for Children and the Alliance for School Choice. LFC is dedicated to promoting educational choice by protecting, growing and expanding scholarship programs for low and middle-income children.
Ann Duplessis is a former state legislator where she served on the Senate Education Committee and fought successfully to expand educational options for Louisiana’s children by authoring and supporting numerous pieces of school choice legislation. Duplessis resides in New Orleans and remains active in numerous civic activities.