TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ A state judge Tuesday ruled that Florida's school voucher law is unconstitutional, throwing out the nation's first statewide voucher program.

Fifty-three children attending private schools in Pensacola can finish the school year, Circuit Judge L. Ralph Smith Jr. ruled. But the state can take no other action to implement the law, Smith said.

The program, championed by Gov. Jeb Bush, allows students in Florida's worst public schools to receive vouchers of up to $3,389 a year to pay for a private or parochial school education at taxpayer expense.

Florida has 2 million public school students, but only children in schools deemed failures by the state are eligible. When the program was launched in August, only two schools, both in Pensacola, were labeled as failing.