BATON ROUGE — School systems that currently offer language immersion will have to offer it to all kindergarten and first-grade children whose parents want them enrolled if Gov. Bobby Jindal signs House Bill 763 by Rep. Stephen Ortego into law.
The Senate on Tuesday night voted 35-1 to approve the bill after a brief explanation by Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte. Only Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Shreveport, voted against it, and it doesn’t affect his school district.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Ortego, D-Carencro, shortly after the vote. “I just need to get the governor to sign it, and we’re good to go.”
The bill says that any school district that offers language immersion classes cannot reject any students in kindergarten or first grade who want to get into the programs as long as three conditions are met. The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana or the Department of Education must provide teachers, the state funding formula that provides money to pay for the classes must continue to do so and parents must have signed up by March 1 of the year when their children are to enter the program.
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