For Immediate Release
March 21, 2024

                        Contact:  Dr. Janet Pope –
                                       Louisiana School Boards Association


Baton Rouge, LA - The proposed LA GATOR Scholarship Program, as created in HB 745, provides for universal education savings accounts (ESAs) and will spend taxpayer dollars without the accountability demanded of public schools, without any requirement to teach the state content standards demanded of public schools, and without providing special education services to students who need and are entitled to those services under federal law. 


Public school students must take state-mandated standardized tests in Math, English, Science and Social Studies every year in grades 3-8; must pass six end-of-course exams in English I, English II, Algebra, Geometry, Civics, and Biology; and must take the ACT. All of these test results are factored into public school accountability scores and letter grades.  LA GATOR students will not be required to take any of these mandated standardized tests and will be judged on a yet to be determined standard, which will prevent any valid comparison between the quality of public education and LA GATOR funded education. 

Public schools are required to teach state content standards adopted by BESE for every core academic subject in every grade. LA GATOR schools and providers are not obligated to teach the state content standards and are to be provided “maximum freedom to provide for the educational needs of participating student without government control”.  State content standards are BESE approved public policy, setting the bar for what students should learn and know. However, that public policy shall not be applied to LA GATOR funded students. 

Public schools are required under federal and state law to provide necessary special education services and accommodations to special education students and are subject to federal court orders and state sanctions if those services and accommodations are not provided. LA GATOR schools and providers will not be required to provide special education services and parents will be mandated to formally waive the services to which their children are entitled as a condition of their child’s eligibility to receive a LA GATOR ESA.  Students who need special education services will effectively be excluded from the LA GATOR program. 

It is wrong to spend public taxpayer dollars for nonpublic education without valid accountability. It is wrong to spend public taxpayer dollars without requiring the teaching of state-mandated educational content standards. It is wrong to exclude special education students by forcing them to waive the services they need and to which they are entitled in order to participate in a publicly-funded educational program. 

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Formed in 1938, the LSBA is a non-profit organization that serves as a resource for public school boards across Louisiana. Our mission is leadership, service, and support for school boards and advocating for all students with a collective voice.