LDOE withholding voucher records
Louisiana's education chief has refused to provide records from the deliberations over how schools were chosen to participate in the new statewide voucher program, which is using tax dollars to send students to private and parochial schools. The Department of Education isn't claiming an exemption to any public records law in denying the June 12 request from The Associated Press. Instead, the department is claiming "a deliberative process privilege" cited in two court rulings that have nothing to do with education issues, but involve legal battles over which records should be available to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office. Through a spokesman, Superintendent of Education John White says that he'll release the documents in September, after voucher enrollment is set in a Sept. 1 student count. Any release before that, White claims, could create confusion for parents. "We're committed to fulfilling the request when the process is finished, and that is when all student assignments are final," says Barry Landry, Education Department spokesman. The information could provide insight into the types of discussions that decided which schools could participate in the program, show how deeply education officials scrutinized individual schools and indicate what they considered red flags for participation. Barry Erwin, president of CABL— a nonpartisan public policy group that supported creation of the statewide voucher program—says he sees no reason to withhold the documents. Read the full story here.
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