Louisiana Statewide Voucher Program Receives More Than 10,300 Applications in First Year of Expansion
BATON ROUGE, La., July 11, 2012
One of most successful application periods ever saw overwhelming parental demand across entire state
BATON ROUGE, La., July 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Louisiana Department of Education today announced that the state's newly-expanded voucher program received more than 10,300 applications during the month-long application period for the statewide program, marking one of the largest single-year application increases ever for a voucher program.
The Louisiana Federation for Children (LFC)—an instrumental component in promoting and implementing the expanded program—applauded Louisiana State Superintendent John White and the Department of Education for working vigorously to provide Louisiana parents with the opportunity to choose the best educational environment for their children.
Enacted in 2008 for families in Orleans Parish, the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence (SSEE) program was expanded in April to students across the state. Under Act 2 of the 2012 Louisiana legislative session, K-12 students statewide who attended a public school labeled "C," "D," or "F," were eligible to apply to participate in the program, which last year served 1,800 students exclusively in New Orleans.
During the May 22-June 29 application period, eligible families from every corner of the state applied to participate in the program, which boasts more than 100 schools offering over 7,000 spots statewide. To qualify, families had to have a household income not exceeding 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline ($57,625 for a family of four).
"It's encouraging to see so many parents taking advantage of the tremendous opportunity to provide their child with a better education, and this demand only further proves that parents across our state want a say in their child's education," said LFC's Lauren Perry. "We've seen the positive effects of those students benefiting from the program in New Orleans, and we're encouraged for what the future holds for the expanded program."
A survey last year of parents whose children participate in the program showed an overwhelming satisfaction rate of more than 93 percent.
The Department today also released criteria for nonpublic school participation in the SSEE program that aims to ensure appropriate enrollment growth and financial oversight of participating schools. In addition to these provisions, an accountability system based on student achievement will be created by August 1, per the new law.