Louisiana Supreme Court Declares State-Authorized Charter Schools as Constitutionally Protected Public Schools; Major Victory for 16,000 Students and their Families
NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) and seven Type 2 charter schools won a major victory today in the Louisiana State Supreme Court. The Justices upheld the constitutional rights of Type 2 charter schools to receive Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) funding and declared these schools are indeed public schools.
“Charter Schools have been in Louisiana for over 25 years and today’s ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court confirms what we have know all along: charters are public schools,” said LAPCS Executive Director, Caroline Roemer. “This is a major victory for 16,000 students who have been caught in the middle of a political fight over dollars for more than three years and for all those who advocate for more education options for parents.”
In 2014, LAPCS and seven Type 2 charter schools teamed up to intervene and counter a lawsuit filed by the Iberville Parish School Board and the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) that sought to strip MFP funding from Type 2 charter schools. Currently, Louisiana is home to 42 Type 2 charters schools that serve approximately 16,000 students.
“As a parent, I am thrilled that the state’s highest court validated my choice to have a say in my child’s education. Now, precious state dollars will continue to follow my child into our public school,“ said Jean Spriggs-Brown, a mother of a child at Iberville Charter Academy. “We’re grateful to the judges who understand that parents need options when traditional schools have failed us for generations.”
The ruling reverses a decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2017 that charter schools approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education – called Type 2 charters – do not meet the definition of public schools spelled out in the Louisiana Constitution. The Supreme Court Justices disagreed in a 5-2 ruling.
“We strongly believe that state funding for public education should follow the child, not the school district. This ruling ensures that all students who attend public schools – whether it’s a charter school or a traditional district school – receive public dollars equitably,” said Roemer.
“It is time to quit litigating and start educating. We hope the unions and the Iberville school system see this as a message to work collaboratively to improve all of our schools,” she said. “As we celebrate today’s decision as a victory, we continue to advocate on behalf of students and parents across the state who deserve a choice in quality educational options.”
Type 2 charter schools joining LAPCS in the lawsuit include Community School for Apprenticeship Learning, Inc.; Lake Charles Charter Academy Foundation, Inc.; the International School of Louisiana; New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy, Inc.; the Delta Charter Group; Delhi Charter School; and Glencoe Education Foundation, Inc.
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About Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools
The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to support, promote, and advocate for the Louisiana charter school movement, increasing student access to high quality public schools statewide. Learn more about LAPCS at https://lacharterschools.org.