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Louisiana Teachers' Union Sues to Halt Charter School Funding

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A teachers' union in Louisiana is suing to block state funding from going to some charter schools, according to The Times Picayune.

About 25 schools could lose $60 million dollars in funding if the Louisiana Association of Educators wins the lawsuit. Danielle Dreilinger of The Times-Picayune explains why the union believes state dollars going to some charters is unconstitutional:

"Charter schools receive public funding but are run by private, nonprofit boards. In Louisiana, most of their money comes from a particular pot of the state budget, called the Minimum Foundation Program, or MFP, that is doled out to schools based on enrollment. The state Supreme Court ruled in the 2013 voucher case that MFP funds could not be sent directly to private companies, in that case, private and parochial schools."

Charter schools run by private companies should fall under the same rules, or so the LAE argument goes.

"This lawsuit will ensure that MFP funds are spent on what the people of the state wanted them spent on—city and parish school systems—not on state-approved charter schools that siphon scarce resources away from those systems," LAE President Debbie Meaux said in a statement.

To be clear, the lawsuit won't affect most charters, including those overseen by local school boards and all charters in the New Orleans Recovery District, The Times-Picayune reports.

The Black Alliance for Education Options, an advocacy organization that works to improve education for African-American students, has come out against the LAE's lawsuit.

"We believe this lawsuit is yet another effort by a teachers' union to litigate its way to an end that ultimately is about protecting the organized interests of adults and not the interest of children," the BAEO President Kenneth Campbell said in the statement.

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