Nov. 30, 2012 09:26

Judge Tim Kelley ruled that Gov. Jindal's signature legislative initiative improperly diverts money allocated through the state's public school funding formula to private schools.

BATON ROUGE (AP) Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's private school tuition voucher program has been ruled unconstitutional by a state judge.

State Judge Tim Kelley said Friday that the program improperly diverts money allocated through the state's public school funding formula to private schools. He also said it unconstitutionally diverts local tax dollars to private schools.

Kelley ruled in a lawsuit backed by teacher unions and school boards seeking to shut down the voucher program.

The state education department and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education said the programs were funded and created in line with the constitution.

Jinal issued the following statement at about 4 p.m. Friday:

Today's ruling is wrong headed and a travesty for parents across Louisiana who want nothing more than for their children to have an equal opportunity at receiving a great education. That opportunity is a chance that every child deserves and we will continue the fight to give it to them. The opinion sadly ignores the rights of families who do not have the means necessary to escape failing schools. On behalf of the citizens that cast their votes for reform, the parents who want more choices, and the kids who deserve a chance, we will appeal today's decision, and I'm confident we will prevail. This ruling changes nothing for the students currently in the program. All along, we expected this to be decided by the Louisiana Supreme Court.