Louisiana is a leader in offering families school choice options.
Public School Choice:
Louisiana offers families public school choice options. The Education Commission of the States reports that Louisiana has enacted two open enrollment policies: low-performing public schools must allow inter-district and intra-district transfers, and schools may allow inter-district transfer options for all students.
Private School Choice:
Louisiana has four private school choice options. Louisiana offers tax deductions to individuals for various educational expenses, such as private school tuition. Louisiana also offers tax credits to those who make donations to nonprofit organizations, also known as School Tuition Organizations (STOs), that provide scholarships for students to attend private school. In 2010, Louisiana passed the School Choice Pilot Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities. Under this program, students with disabilities in certain parishes can receive a voucher worth up to 50 percent of the average public school per-pupil expenditure to attend a private school of their choice. Finally, low-income students attending an underperforming public school are eligible for a scholarship to attend a private school through the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program. In 2012, nearly 5,000 students received these scholarships.
The Center for Education Reform reports that Louisiana has an above average charter school law because extensive efforts were undertaken after Hurricane Katrina to institute a robust charter school network. According to the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, in 2013, about 50,000 students were enrolled in the state’s 103 charter schools.
Louisiana has two statewide, online schools: the Louisiana Connections Academy and the Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy. Students in Louisiana are also offered supplemental online courses through the state-led Louisiana Virtual School (LVS). According to the Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning report, during 2010-2011, the LVS enrolled 4,639 students.
In 2011, Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation to expand the state's tuition tax credit program. This program previously allowed parents to receive a 50 percent tax deduction for private school tuition of up to $5,000 per child. This program was enhanced by removing the 50 percent cap and allowing a $5,000 maximum deduction.
Click here for detailed information on Louisiana's public school system and see below for school choice contacts and a history of school choice legislation in Louisiana.