Magazine article Church & State

Louisiana Voucher Program Scored for Lack of Oversight in New Government Reports

Magazine article Church & State

Louisiana Voucher Program Scored for Lack of Oversight in New Government Reports

Article excerpt

Investigations into Louisiana's ever-expanding school voucher program have exposed serious problems.

A report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's office released in December found the state's voucher program lacks standards to ensure that schools spend voucher money the way they're supposed to and that they actually educate their students. Among the report's findings:

* Five schools sought vouchers for children whose household income was beyond the allowable limit, while four other schools were unable to document income for some students' families.

* Nearly one-third of schools overcharged the state by demanding more money from voucher students than non-voucher students.

* Ten schools either had the wrong home address for voucher students or couldn't provide their home address. This matters because the amount of money a student receives depends partly on where he or she lives.

* Just six of the schools participating in the voucher program provided special education services, and three of those improperly documented the services provided, meaning they possibly overcharged the state.

In conclusion, the report offered a suggestion that the state "develop formal criteria for determining whether participating schools have both the academic and physical capacity to serve the number of scholarship students they request."

In a separate report also released in December, the U.S. Department of Justice said Louisiana's voucher program has increased segregation in at least 15 public schools. …

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