By Paul Dauphin
Nearly half of the students who have been on a waiting list to attend private schools through the Louisiana Scholarship Program will have their scholarship awards honored. The Advocate and NOLA.com report the Department of Education announced this week the waiting list was reduced from 362 to 187 students.
The waiting list is being trimmed down as schools agree to accept a potential “worst-case scenario” of a nominal payment from the state of less than $100 per child for the year.
Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White said he will request that the state legislature analyze the number of additional students enrolled by participating schools and commit appropriate and full funding during the next legislative session.
The majority of students cleared from the waiting list were accepted by schools in parishes not impacted by Louisiana’s massive flood.
The waiting list was created in July after Governor John Bel Edwards chose not to fully fund the Louisiana Scholarship Program.
A study by researchers at the University of Arkansas examined the impact of placing students on a wait list. “Louisiana is paying $3.22 million in additional Level 1 and 2 funding to avoid paying $2.61 million in voucher expenses, which is a net increase in state overall education expenditures of more than $600,000,” researchers noted.
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.