Taxpayer dollars in Louisiana's new voucher program will be paying to send children to schools that teach creationism and question evolution, challenging the lessons central to public school science classrooms.
Several religious schools that will be educating taxpayer-subsidized students tout their creationist views. Some schools question whether the universe is more than a few thousand years old, openly defying reams of scientific evidence to the contrary.
A state appeals court has upheld a decision that allows Gov. Bobby Jindal's statewide voucher program to begin in August.
Teacher unions and local school boards sought to block the start of the program as they challenge its constitutionality.
But in a 2-1 decision, a three-judge appellate court panel agreed with a lower court judge that an injunction couldn't be issued, citing a law that bars injunctions if a state agency chief says it would cause a deficit.
Louisiana's top education board has backed accountability standards suggested by Superintendent of Education John White for the private schools that will get taxpayer-subsidized students through the voucher program.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 9-2 Tuesday for the criteria.
The attorney general's office will pay up to $50,000 to Gov. Bobby Jindal's former executive counsel to defend the governor's signature education revamp in court.
Amanda Larkins, spokeswoman for Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, said Tuesday that the contract with lawyer Jimmy Faircloth hasn't been completed. But she described its terms, saying Faircloth is being paid $195 an hour, with a cap of $50,000.
Larkins said the contract runs through the current budget year, which will end June 30.
The school bus company that transports most public school students in New Orleans has laid off its drivers in a dispute over $7.2 million in unpaid bills.
Blaine Krage, a spokesman for Warrenville, Ill.-based Durham School Services, told The Times-Picayune Tuesday that the company has sent termination letters to 142 drivers and 55 bus monitors telling them "we will not need their services this upcoming school year."
An Oct. 15 date has been set for arguments in a lawsuit by teacher unions and local school boards challenging the constitutionality of Gov. Bobby Jindal's statewide voucher program.
Judge Tim Kelley chose the hearing date Tuesday in a meeting with lawyers for both sides in the case.
Attorneys for two statewide teacher unions and dozens of local school boards say the voucher program that will use tax dollars to send children to private schools and other new education funding plans are unconstitutional.
A nonpartisan government watchdog group is asking Superintendent of Education John White to seek legislative guidance as he designs the accountability standards required of schools participating in Louisiana's new voucher program.
The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana sent a letter Tuesday to White, urging him to present his draft accountability policies to the House and Senate education committees for the program that will use tax dollars to send students to private schools.
In a move to stop charter schools from expelling students too frequently, the state agency running most of New Orleans' public schools has issued new guidelines on what constitutes the kind of behavior that will get a student thrown out.
FARMERVILLE, La. — Union Parish Schools Superintendent George Cannon says the district is struggling financially for the current fiscal year after cuts planned for the past year apparently didn't happen.
Cannon said some of last year's planned $1.6 million in cuts were not carried out as planned.