Professor: School Voucher Ruling Could Fuel Expansion Debate

An IU education policy director says what happens at a Senate Education Committee meeting Wednesday could be a harbinger for school voucher expansion.

An Indiana University education policy expert says Tuesday’s state Supreme Court ruling affirming the constitutionality of school vouchers may fuel discussion of vouchers in a Senate committee later this week.

With the constitutionality of vouchers decided, the Senate Education Committee turns its attention Wednesday to a House bill which would loosen requirements for families seeking vouchers.

Terry Spradlin, the education policy director at Indiana University’s Center for  Evaluation and Education Policy, says the hearing could serve as a crystal ball for vouchers.

“So again the impetus is back on the legislature to define the scope and scale of the program,” Spradlin says. “And so that is being discussed and that will be determined – perhaps as early as tomorrow. Certainly it will be a foretelling of what will happen this session what happens with that bill tomorrow in that committee.”

Spradlin says influential senators such as Luke Kenley have expressed skepticism about further expansion of the plan and its long-term costs. About 9,300 kids are currently on vouchers, which is well short of the state’s cap of 15,000 for this year.

Starting in 2014, there is no limit to how many vouchers the state can award.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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