LUTCHER — The St. James Parish School Board agreed to join at least 14 other parish school boards planning to challenge the constitutionality of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature expansion this year of a state school voucher program, school officials said.
The Louisiana School Boards Association, which is coordinating the pending litigation, has asked boards planning to join the effort to approve resolutions to that effect by June 22, according to a June 11 letter from the association.
The group plans to file suit by no later than June 29, the letter says.
The state Legislature enacted the program in April.
The suit would be in addition to one filed last week in Baton Rouge’s 19th Judicial District Court by one of the state’s largest teacher unions over the voucher program and its funding.
The group also separately challenged teacher tenure changes also adopted by the Legislature.
On Tuesday, the parish School Board unanimously adopted a School Board Association resolution enabling it to challenge Act 2, or House Bill 976, either individually or as part of a group of other public school systems.
The resolution alleges state or federal constitutional problems with Act 2 in three areas: illegal bundling of multiple topics in one bill, separation of church and state questions surrounding state funding of parochial schools and the giving of state money set aside for public schools to private and parochial schools.
Act 2, which takes effect Aug. 1, authorizes the use of state school funds to subsidize attendance at private or parochial schools by students from low-income families attending poorly performing public schools.
Other topics taken up by the board included:
PHYSICAL FITNESS: The board recognized two Paulina Elementary School students who competed in the State Physical Fitness Meet in Baton Rouge May 26.
Luce gave plaques to Lindsay Waguespack, who placed third in the sit-up competition by doing 86 in one minute, and Zane McCrary, who placed first in the sit-and-reach competition by reaching 38 centimeters, or nearly 15 inches.