Indiana

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With Broader Eligibility Guidelines, Applications For Indiana’s Private School Vouchers Double

A 'Holy Hall Monitor' near the front entrance of Our Lady of Hungary Catholic school in South Bend.

A 'Holy Hall Monitor' near the front entrance of Our Lady of Hungary Catholic school in South Bend.

If the number of applications for Indiana’s private school vouchers is any indication, enrollment in one of the nation’s most sweeping school choice programs could more than double this year. Tom Brinkman has the story at Indiana Public Media:

Indiana education officials confirmed Tuesday they’ve received more than 20,000 applications for voucher dollars. That means the program has more than quadrupled its enrollment since it started two years ago.

School Choice Indiana president Betsy Wiley, a voucher program advocate, attributes the increase to House Bill 1003, which won state lawmakers’ approval last session.

“Quite honestly it’s just phenomenal and nothing we ever dreamed of in 2011. I think it is in part the result of the legislation that the general assembly and Governor Pence passed,” she says…

Wiley speculates much of the program’s growth this year to a key provision of the new law: students do not have to attend public school for a year before receiving a voucher if they have a sibling who’s already done the same.

More than 9,100 students enrolled in private schools with the help of state vouchers last year. $37 million from the state’s K-12 budget covered the cost of those vouchers.

The state capped voucher enrollment to 15,000 last year, but there’s no limit to the number of vouchers the state can award this year.

Comments

  • Kay Wiliams

    Oh, come on. Use your head. These aren’t new applications. They’re people who were already attending private schools who now have the state paying for it.

    For goodness sakes. Are you guys contractually obligated to spread political spin as “news”?

    • kystokes

      This post speaks to applications for vouchers, not applications to private schools. I don’t know where you’re getting the “new applications” thing. I suppose in the phrase “9,100 students enrolled in private schools with the help of state vouchers,” one might infer “enrolled” to mean “signed up to attend *for the first time*.” But I’m not suggesting that at all, and don’t mean to. We simply don’t have numbers now to say either way whether students who were in private schools last year are getting vouchers this year.

      The expanded voucher law now allows students who live in the attendance areas of schools that have received F’s… or who already have siblings in the program…. to receive a voucher without first attending public school for a full year. Anyone else applying for a voucher must do so. (An earlier version of this bill eliminated this requirement altogether, the expansion that passed only loosened it.) Again, we don’t know how many received vouchers because of this provision.

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