17:2990.1      Legislative Policy

  The legislature of this state, in the exercise of its police and general welfare powers, declares the public policy of the state as follows:

  WHEREAS, one out of every six children attending schools in Louisiana attend a non-public elementary or secondary school, with a total of more than 163,000 children being enrolled by their parents in non-public schools of this state and with the cost of their education being borne by their parents and other non-public sources; and

  WHEREAS, the state and local school districts of the state are at present (1970-71) spending approximately $737.90 annually to educate each child enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school; and

  WHEREAS, the general public of Louisiana saves approximately $119.1 million annually in public school operating costs alone as a result of students' attendance at non-public schools; and

  WHEREAS, the public interest is best served through competition in educational opportunity offered by public and non-public schools, provided both meet the standards established for schools by the constitution and laws of the state; and

  WHEREAS, parents with lower incomes are less well able to exercise their right to choose between sending their children to public or non-public schools solely because of their economic condition,

  THEREFORE, it is declared to be in the interest of the citizens of Louisiana that non-public schools continue to serve the children of Louisiana, and further that lower income parents be afforded financial assistance in order that they may exercise their constitutional right to choose between public and non-public schools.

  It is further, recognized and declared that parents should not be deprived of their right to choose between public and non-public schools merely because of their economic condition.

  It is further declared that financial assistance to lower income parents who choose to send their children to non-public schools will benefit the general welfare of the state of Louisiana and of public and non-public schools and enable those parents to exercise fundamental constitutional rights

Added by Acts 1972, No. 94, Sec. 2.