A group that accused Gov. John Bel Edwards of lying about his stance on vouchers has launched another TV ad campaign to drum up support for the program in the special session.
The latest ads, which will cost at least $100,000, will air on TV in New Orleans, on radio in New Orleans and Baton Rouge and in digital media.
Most of the roughly 7,100 students who get the aid live in those two cities, and most are minorities.
Edwards, who denied lying about the issue, included a 14 percent cut for vouchers in his operating budget, which the Legislature approved on Sunday.
The governor, who initially said the proposed cut stemmed from a decision by officials of the state Department of Education, later blamed the reduction on state financial problems.
State services face a $600 million shortfall starting July 1 unless the Legislature and Edwards can agree on tax hikes and other steps during the special session, which ends on June 23.
Ann Duplessis, president of the pro-voucher group Louisiana Federation for Children, said Wednesday she hopes the ads generate legislative support for boosting voucher aid.
Vouchers allow children from low-income families attending public schools rated C, D or F to attend private schools at state expense.
The state spends $42 million for what is officially called the Louisiana Scholarship Program.
Edwards proposed trimming that to $36 million, which Duplessis said would cost nearly 1,100 students their vouchers.
The pro-voucher group hopes to get that increased to $47 million, which would allow current recipients and this year’s applicants to get the assistance.
An official of the state Department of Education said 10,995 students have applied for vouchers for the 2016-17 school year.
Duplessis said that, without additional funding, lots of families will face upheaval in their child’s education plans.
“Let’s say 1,100 kids are going to be put back into the public school system,” she said. “And there is no place; there is no room. You don’t have the teachers to accommodate; you don’t have the infrastructure.”
Edwards is a longtime critic of vouchers.
He proposed restricting access to the aid, but that proposal, like much of his public schools package, was killed in the Legislature with little fanfare.
The ad features three families with children who attend private schools using vouchers.
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