Give Now

House Committee Hears Bill To Expand School Voucher Program

The bill would loosen the income requirements for families seeking vouchers to send their children to private schools.

students in a classroom at St. Charles

Photo: Elle Moxley/StateImpact Indiana

Students sing and play music games during choir class at St. Charles Catholic School in Bloomington.

Indiana’s voucher program could be significantly expanded under legislation being considered by the General Assembly.

The state’s current voucher program is available to any student who spends at least one year in public school beyond kindergarten and has an annual income of $64,000 or less for a family of four. Proposed legislation would remove the public school attendance requirement. It would also allow voucher recipients who meet the initial income level to keep their voucher if their income goes up to as much as $127,000 a year.

South Bend resident Kevin Abbott has three children in a private grade school.  And he says his family has made difficult financial sacrifices to send them there.

“To be voucher-eligible, our children would have to actually go back to public school, get reenrolled there, be there for year, then we’d have to take them back out at the end and then send them back to our private school,” he says.

But Indianapolis resident Suzanne Felli says, by raising the income requirement and eliminating the attendance requirement, the program would not help those who truly need it.

“I’m scared of what will happen if more and more parents leave the public schools,” she says. “We will begin to re-segregate the schools with charter and private schools serving the haves and public schools serving the have-nots.”

The proposed bill would also allow disabled students, foster children, siblings of voucher recipients and children of active duty military servicemembers and veterans to receive vouchers regardless of family income. And it would raise the voucher amount, which is currently capped at $4,500 per child to $5,500 next year and $6,500 dollars after that.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Education Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook