Louisiana Democrats Just Can’t Cipher—More Video From Yesterday’s Press Conference

Granted, I’m a product of the Louisiana public school system from the most impoverished quadrant of the state, but I think even I can cipher this one right.

Democrats fighting Gov. Jindal’s school reform continue to speak out about how the Student Scholarship for Educational Excellence (voucher program) would steal local dollars that should go to public schools for private and parochial schools.

Here is the way Rep.John Bel Edwards and Rep. Pat Smith figure it, from yesterday’s press conference at the Capitol’s East Garden. Pay close attention, because I think they were counting on their fingers under the podium:

I was never a stellar math student, but the Democrat’s arithmetic doesn’t add up to me.

The state’s Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) on average pays for 65 percent of the cost to educate students, with 35 percent being made up by local dollars. On average, about $10,000 is provided to educate a single child in the Louisiana public school system through both local and state dollars.

The school choice bill proposed by Jindal only uses state money—up to $8,500 per students in a school year—and redirects it to a private-parochial school of parents’ choosing in the voucher program.

There are only a handful of private-schools that charge tuition above the proposed voucher cap and the vast majority charge a lot less—often less than it cost the state and local districts to send a kid to a private school.

The difference in state money is returned to the district, which has one less kid to educate. Seems that public schools end up with more money through the scholarship program.

I’ll leave it to Education Superintendent John White to explain this better. He didn’t go to Louisiana public schools, so his head probably doesn’t hurt when ciphering this:

White is being generous when he says that this discrepancy in figuring is a “misunderstanding.” In fact, the notion that school districts will be starved of local funding by the voucher program in nothing more than an another typical straw-man argument that Democrats always resort to when the facts don’t work in their favor.

I asked White if he really thought that opponents to the voucher system just don’t get it or whether they are actually working to gain political traction by perpetuating this argument:

Well said, because when you add it all up there can be no more local control than leaving it to parents to decide what’s the best way to direct tax money to educate their children.

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