Voters in one of Louisiana’s high-performing school districts are angry that their public schools will lose funding to pay for Governor Bobby Jindal’s harebrained voucher scheme, which sends students to backwoods fundamentalist schools that teach religious doctrine.
Jindal insisted that this could not possibly be true, that the vouchers were drawing money from someplace else, not from local taxes. Where does he think taxes come from? Is there a reserve fund in the bayou?
This blog calls him out for trying to hoodwink smart people. In fact, the schools of St. Tammany Parish stand to lose more than $2 million to satisfy the governor’s ideological wishes.
Apparently stung by a series of public meetings in St. Tammany Parish, during which school board members laid out the damage that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education agenda is causing to public schools, the governor “launched an offensive last week to say local tax dollars are not actually being used to help pay for some students to go to private schools,” according to Advocate columnist Mark Ballard.
The governor’s attorney told Ballard that “No local funds, not one dime of property ad valorem taxes or of property taxes or of any millages, any taxes, can be traced” to a student attending a private or religious school because of Jindal’s voucher scheme.
That artfully worded dodge conceals the fact that the state funds the vouchers in part by holding back money that would otherwise be sent to local school systems. As Ballard writes, “The state writes a check to the private schools and discounts local school districts the same amount.”
That amount includes money approved by local taxpayers for teacher salaries, school construction or other local education needs.