Indiana

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IDOE Report Shows Voucher System Costs State $16 Million

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Indiana's private school voucher program is expanding, costing the state millions of dollars.

The private school voucher system is costing the state around $16 million, according to a report the Department of Education released this week that detailed the financial impact of the voucher system.

The AP reports that the report indicates the voucher system saved the state more than $4 million in both the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years.

The AP writes that a change during the last school year broke the saving streak:

But changes that allowed some students already attending private schools to begin receiving state aid ended up costing the state $15.8 million for the school year that just ended.

Daniel Altman, a Department of Education spokesman, delivered a limited explanation for the sudden change between school years.

“The Department is committed to a transparent accounting of how taxpayer dollars are spent. The update (in) today’s report reflects recent growth in the Choice program,” Altman said in an emailed statement.

As we’ve reported, the program grew every year since it started three years ago:

20,000 Hoosier kids are using state-funded tuition vouchers at Indiana private schools — more than double the number who did last year.

Indiana’s 3-year-old voucher program is growing quickly because it doesn’t limit participation to kids assigned to struggling schools.

Indiana’s voucher program gives low-income students the choice to attend private schools under state money that is also allocated to public schools on a per-pupil basis.

Governor Pence is a proponent of the program and wanted to expand it further, but that plan didn’t go forward because of cost concerns.

The program did expand to allow students with a sibling already attending a private school to be eligible for a voucher without attending a public school for one year first, which was one of the original criteria for a student to receive a voucher.

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