School voucher expansion endorsed

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More Indiana school children will get the opportunity to go to a private school under a bill passed by the state Senate Wednesday. The bill expands the state's school voucher program.

If you believe in supporters of the bill, and they include Governor Mike Pence, every student will potentially benefit because this will increase competition and lead to better schools. 

Specifically, however, new vouchers will be available to the siblings of students who already receive a voucher.  Those siblings would no longer have to spend a year in public school in order to qualify. 

New vouchers would also be available to students who live a school district where there is a failing school.

"We want parents to get involved?" asked Sen. Carlin Yoder (R-Middlebury.)  "What better way than to allow them to choose where to send their kids to school?"

Opponents worry that too much money will be cut from public school budgets in order to pay for vouchers. 

"We can't keep doing this without some caps," said Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage,) "on either the number of students or the amount of money that we're willing to spend."

9,000 students now receive vouchers. The bill would expand that to almost 12,000 over the next two years.  Even though it's an expansion of the program, it's a smaller expansion than one approved earlier by the Indiana House.

The House must still agree to changes made in the bill by the Senate.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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