Taxpayer dollars in Louisiana's new voucher program will be paying to send children to schools that teach creationism and question evolution, challenging the lessons central to public school science classrooms.
Several religious schools that will be educating taxpayer-subsidized students tout their creationist views. Some schools question whether the universe is more than a few thousand years old, openly defying reams of scientific evidence to the contrary.
A state appeals court has upheld a decision that allows Gov. Bobby Jindal's statewide voucher program to begin in August.
Teacher unions and local school boards sought to block the start of the program as they challenge its constitutionality.
But in a 2-1 decision, a three-judge appellate court panel agreed with a lower court judge that an injunction couldn't be issued, citing a law that bars injunctions if a state agency chief says it would cause a deficit.
Louisiana's top education board has backed accountability standards suggested by Superintendent of Education John White for the private schools that will get taxpayer-subsidized students through the voucher program.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 9-2 Tuesday for the criteria.
The attorney general's office will pay up to $50,000 to Gov. Bobby Jindal's former executive counsel to defend the governor's signature education revamp in court.
Amanda Larkins, spokeswoman for Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, said Tuesday that the contract with lawyer Jimmy Faircloth hasn't been completed. But she described its terms, saying Faircloth is being paid $195 an hour, with a cap of $50,000.
Larkins said the contract runs through the current budget year, which will end June 30.