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School Voucher Bill Passes House

A school vouchers bill that would offer money to parents to send their children to private school is on its way to the Indiana Senate.

The school vouchers bill was one of the subjects of negotiation between Democrats and Republicans during the five week walkout. As part of those negotiations, in order to be eligible for vouchers, the income level of the family must be 150% of the federal level for free and reduced school lunch, and the number of students who can participate in the program is capped at 7,500 in the first year and 15,000 students in the second.

Indianapolis Representative David Frizzell said the vouchers program will ultimately help improve public schools by saving the state money.

“Now let’s talk about the savings and what happens,” he said. “We can reinvest that money, and that’s part of the bill, reinvest that money back into public schools.”

But Bloomington Representative Matt Pierce said studies of vouchers programs show they aren’t as effective as supporters promise.

“They did not find impressive gains in achievement,” he said, “nor was there persuasive evidence that the public school systems that lost voucher students to private schools had improved.”

The bill passed the house by a margin of 56-41 Wednesday. It now moves to the Senate.

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