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Private Schools Downplay Voucher Ruling Impact

But public school officials fear the ruling upholding the state's voucher program will lead to an outflow of students, and, therefore, dollars.

alec mayer with a teacher

Photo: Stan Jastrzebski/WTIU News

St. Charles Catholic School Principal Alec Mayer talks with a teacher.

At St. Charles Catholic School in Bloomington, little is visibly different than before the Indiana Supreme Court’s Tuesday ruling declaring the state’s school voucher program constitutional.

It is still impossible to pick out the 14 voucher students during a passing period. Principal Alec Mayer says the only change is added peace of mind for him. He says the added security is nice and believes too much has been made of what vouchers do to education funding.

“It’s never going to be as big of a panic and as big of a push as people make it seem to be,” Mayer says. “They make it sound like we’re just walking into the school and just lifting everybody’s wallet.  We’re not doing that.  It’s not that big of a deal.”

Mayer says he does not think he will see a giant influx of students because of the ruling.

But Monroe County Community School Corporation officials say they are worried what even a gradual outflow could mean for them.  Comptroller Tim Thrasher says because the corporation has to wait until each October to hear how many students go from public school to schools like St. Charles, it’s hard to judge what MCCSC has money for.

“Our method of budgeting is to estimate expenditures I guess you’d say in a pessimistic manner, so estimate them high,” he says. “And estimate revenues on a conservative basis, so estimate them low so that you’re prepared for sort of the worst-case scenario. Then if the worst-case doesn’t materialize, you’re a little ahead of the game.”

Even though MCCSC enrollment went up by a few hundred students this year, the corporation lost about 60 students to vouchers.

Gretchen Frazee contributed to this report.

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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