One school whose funding could be threatened by the Louisiana Association of Educators' lawsuit is Louisiana Key Academy, a charter school for dyslexic students that Cassidy's wife, Laura, helped create.
U.S. Rep. and Senate hopeful Bill Cassidy looks at guns and talks to minorities.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy criticized a statewide teacher union Monday for filing a lawsuit that could strip $60 million for some charter schools from Louisiana's public school financing formula.
The congressman, who is the leading Republican candidate in Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, called on Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, who is endorsed by the union, to publicly denounce the lawsuit.
One school whose funding could be threatened by the Louisiana Association of Educators' lawsuit is Louisiana Key Academy, a charter school for dyslexic students that Cassidy's wife, Laura, helped create. She serves as the school's board chairwoman.
With his wife by his side, Cassidy held a press conference at the 2-year-old school to highlight its work. The school, with 180 students in first grade through third grade, offers smaller class sizes and more intensive reading assistance to help students who have trouble matching the spoken word with the alphabet.
"Unions hope these won't be funded," he said, surrounded by 20 young students. "Their hope is to tie up this school in red tape."
Landrieu's campaign didn't immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.
Charter schools are publicly funded but run with broad autonomy from state and local education officials.
The lawsuit filed by Louisiana Association of Educators says it's illegal to pay for charter schools that were created outside of parish and city school systems through the public school formula.
At issue are 33 charter schools authorized by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Also targeted are charter schools that could be authorized by local education nonprofits, as allowed under a 2012 law.
Supporters say the schools offer more educational opportunities to students. Public school systems say they take needed dollars away from their schools.
Cassidy said Louisiana Key Academy, located in a store-front property not far from downtown Baton Rouge, offers targeted treatment for dyslexic students that otherwise could cost an individual family $10,000 to $50,000 a year.
"This is about giving the parent the power, not a bureaucrat or union," he said.
Cassidy's daughter is dyslexic, and his wife described "lots of frustration and lots of crying" to get through homework and to understand her struggles. She said the union lawsuit threatens Louisiana Key Academy with closure, and she called on Landrieu to reject the union's endorsement, not just its lawsuit.
But the lawsuit only challenges the financing through the $3.6 billion public school formula. If the Louisiana Association of Educators is successful, lawmakers and the governor could still pay for the charter schools outside of the formula.
Cassidy said trying to get financing outside of the formula would make it more difficult to be certain schools like Louisiana Key Academy have stable funding each year.