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6/8/2007 2:41:35 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Louisiana--Hearing Scheduled on TOPS Bill!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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June 8, 2007

Louisiana--Hearing Scheduled on TOPS Bill!


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

A bill has been introduced to reduce the discriminatory policy imposed
on homeschoolers who hope to become eligible for TOPS awards. House
Bill 634 has been scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, June 12. Please
call and e-mail the House Appropriations Committee members and urge
them to support this bill.

House Bill 634 would reduce the current requirement that homeschool
students score 2 points higher than public school graduates on the ACT
college entrance exam in order to be eligible for the Louisiana
Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS). A student who has
completed an approved home study program and was enrolled in the
program no later than the end of the 10th grade is eligible for TOPS
financial aid if he or she score 2 points higher than the score
required for public school students.

House Bill 634 would make it possible for homeschool students to be
eligible for TOPS aid if they score at least 1 point higher than the
total required for public school students. While we would like to
completely remove this discriminatory policy, this bill moves the TOPS
eligibility requirements in the right direction.

House Bill 634 is scheduled to be heard Tuesday, June 12, In the House
Education Committee. We need your support to urge them to pass this
bill out of committee!

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please contact the members of the House Education Committee listed
below with this message:

"Please vote in favor of House Bill 634. Currently homeschool students
must score 2 points higher than public school students on the ACT in
order to be eligible for TOPS. This is discriminatory and must
eventually be stopped."

Due to the large number of members of the Education Committee we ask
you to call representatives in the following order. If your last name
begins with letters A-I please call representative numbed 1-6 first.
If your last name begins with letters J-Q please call representative
numbed 7-11first. If your last name begins with letters R-Z please
call representative numbed 12-16 first.

If your last name begins with letters A-I please call representative
numbered 1-6 first.

1. Chairman Carl N. Crane
(225)766-7274
ccrane@legis.state.la.us

2. Vice Chair Avon R. Honey
(225)771-5674
ahoney@legis.state.la.us

3. Representative Ernie Alexander
(337)262-1214
larep043@legis.state.la.us

4. Representative Austin Badon
(504)896-1491
larep100@legis.state.la.us

5. Representative Regina Barrow
(225)359-9331
larep029@legis.state.la.us

6. Representative Billy Chandler
(318)899-1193
larep022@legis.state.la.us

If your last name begins with letters J-Q please call representative
numbered 7-11 first.

7. Representative A. G. Crowe
(985)643-3600
larep076@legis.state.la.us

8. Representative Hollis Downs
(318)251-5039
hdowns@legis.state.la.us

9. Representative James Fannin
(318)259-6620
larep013@legis.state.la.us

10. Representative Elbert Guillory
(337)943-2457
larep040@legis.state.la.us

11. Representative Lelon Kenney
(318)649-9100
larep020@legis.state.la.us

If your last name begins with letters R-Z please call representative
numbered 12-16 first.

12. Representative Henry Powell
(985)386-2910
larep073@legis.state.la.us

13. Representative Mike Powell
(318)869-0008
larep006@legis.state.la.us

14. Representative Harold Ritchie
(985)730-2147
larep075@legis.state.la.us

15. Representative Donald Trahan
(337)984-0175
larep031@legis.state.la.us

16. Representative Monica Walker
(318)253-8891
larep028@legis.state.la.us

BACKGROUND:

The Louisiana state financial aid program, TOPS, is been open to
homeschool students who have been enrolled in approved home study
program since the end of their 10th grade year. However, in order for
a homeschool graduate to receive any TOPS aid he or she must score at
least 2 points higher on the ACT than the minimum score required for
public school students.

Currently the minimum ACT scores a public school student is required
to receive to be eligible for TOPS are:
(1) For a TOPS-Tech award-, 17
(2) For an Opportunity Award- 20,
(3) For a Performance Award- 23,
(4) For an Honors Award- 27.


While HSLDA is neutral on bills that would provide government benefits
to homeschoolers we oppose discrimination against homeschoolers.
Since Louisiana already provides TOPS funding to students in
homeschools HSLDA maintains that the two point difference between
public school and homeschool students is discriminatory. We cannot
stand by while Louisiana discriminates in such a blatant manner.

All Louisiana homeschoolers need to stand together for freedom,
whether they choose the private school or approved home study option.
In our opinion, reducing or eliminating the two point penalty for
approved home study programs would not create a significant risk of
increased regulation for families who choose the private school
option.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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