ON-Lion Letter
In late November, a state trial court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, struck down the state's transformative school-choice scholarship program as unconstitutional.  In a 39-page written opinion issued less than three hours after the two-and-a-half-day-long trial over the program concluded, Judge Tim Kelley ruled that the Louisiana Constitution allows such programs, but wrongly concluded that they could not be funded through the "Minimum Foundation Program," which is the formula under which per pupil public-education funds are calculated.

The State of Louisiana and the Institute for Justice (IJ) in Arlington, Va., which are defending the program, will appeal the case directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which the state may do as a right, bypassing the state appeals court.  The appeal will seek to suspend the trial judge's order, thereby allowing the 5,000 students currently using the choice program to remain in their schools throughout the appeal process.

"We have strong grounds for an appeal," according to IJ attorney Bill Maurer.  "There are clear precedents that allow this program -- and many others like it that already exist -- to be funded through this means. Simply put, the trial court's ruling is inconsistent with Louisiana precedents, with the state's laws and with its Constitution.
"We look forward to vindicating this program in the Louisiana Supreme Court," he concluded.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports IJ.
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