BATON ROUGE, La. – Today, a five-judge panel from the Louisiana Court of Appeal First Circuit heard for a third time oral arguments in the case of Iberville Parish School Board, et al v. Louisiana State Elementary and Secondary Education Board, et al. A three-judge panel heard oral arguments in February; however, the case was referred to a five-judge panel, which heard arguments in August. Due to a judicial retirement, arguments were heard again today. The previous four judges remain the same.
As with previous oral arguments, PublicSchoolOptions.org Louisiana parents, whose children’s educations are threatened by this frivolous lawsuit, attended the hearing.
In May of 2015 a District Court judge ruled in favor of Louisiana parents and students with a clear message: charter schools are public schools and the current funding mechanism established by the state can continue. In spite of the judge’s decision, which allows over 13,000 Louisiana children access to the school that works best for them, the teachers union and Iberville Parish School Board have pushed forward with an appeal in their continued fight to eliminate options in public education in the state.
In February the First Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion to accept an amicus brief filed by PublicSchoolOptions.org Louisiana parents Jennette Franklin and Christin White-Kaiser in the case. Franklin and Kaiser have children who attend Louisiana charter schools, some of whom are directly threatened by the lawsuit.
The brief provides a voice for parents of children who could lose their school choice option and asserts the constitutional guarantees and rights of students attending public charter schools. Parent voices of children directly affected by the lawsuit must be heard in the proceedings, and because of the court’s February decision to grant the motion, those voices will be heard.
The brief strongly urges the court to take into consideration the children and families served by these public charter schools, which have been unrepresented in these proceedings.
If the plaintiffs are successful in their suit, public funding would be discontinued to Type 2 charter schools in the state, which could cause those schools to close. Type 2 charter schools currently serve over 13,000 students in the Louisiana. Many of these students would be left without other public school options and sent back to a local school that has already failed to meet their learning needs.
STATEMENT FROM CHRISTIN WHITE-KAISER:
“Every child deserves the right to a public education, which includes public charter schools. As parents we need to be trusted to make educational decisions for our children, yet the union is trying desperately to take that right away with this frivolous lawsuit. We hope the court will listen to parents and students who stand to be directly affected and reject the union’s effort to gut parent choice.”