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News Release: Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal Finds Funding Scheme for Type 2 Charter Schools Unconstitutional



Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal Finds Funding Scheme 

for Type 2 Charter Schools Unconstitutional

Association Calls Ruling Significant Victory In Defending Children’s Rights to Quality Public Schools


The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal ruled in favor of public education Monday by confirming that it is unconstitutional to fund Type 2 charter schools through the state’s school funding formula.


“This is a significant victory in defending the right of every child in Louisiana to attend a quality public school,” said LAE President Debbie Meaux. “It is crucial for the state to adequately fund the institutions where the vast majority of Louisiana’s students learn, and a majority of Louisiana’s students learn in public school classrooms.”


Type 2 charter schools are authorized by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and are funded with a combination of state and local tax dollars. Local school officials have expressed that these schools siphon off dedicated tax revenue intended for other purposes such as educator salaries and benefits, technology, and infrastructure.


The LAE - and nearly a dozen of its affiliates from across the state - filed a lawsuit in September of 2014 in order to protect valuable public school funding. After a year-and-a-half-long appeal process, the LAE’s legal team was able to demonstrate that using Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) dollars to fund Type 2 charter schools violates the Louisiana Constitution’s provision requiring MFP funds to be allocated to parish and city schools; Type 2 charter schools do not meet this definition. The ruling effectively eliminates the state’s authority to use MFP dollars (including locally-generated tax revenues) to fund new Type 2 charter schools.


“The result in this case was largely foreshadowed by the Louisiana Supreme Court’s 2013 decision that voucher schools could not be funded through the MFP,” said Brian Blackwell, the lead attorney for the LAE. “MFP dollars are clearly restricted to city and parish school systems; Type 2 charter schools simply are not city and parish school systems.”


There are 35 Type 2 charter schools currently operating in Louisiana. These schools derive most of their operating revenues (more than $80 million annually) from MFP funding. With tens of millions of dollars at stake, the decision of the Court of Appeal will likely be appealed to the state’s highest court, but Meaux said she hopes the legislature will intervene.



“It’s time to correct the unconstitutional diversion of funds (both state and local) so that no child’s education will be impeded,” she said. “Ensuring every student’s basic right to a great public school is LAE's top priority. We look forward to a swift and final resolution to this issue so that our public school educators can continue to focus on increasing student success and moving our public schools forward.”


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