Governor Pence’s proposal to expand Indiana’s private school vouchers is rekindling the same debate which accompanied the program’s creation.
Vouchers are currently reserved for low-income families. Pence wants to expand eligibility to foster kids, special Ed students, children of veterans, and siblings of students already receiving vouchers.
The bill also would increase the maximum voucher amount from 45-hundred dollars to 65-hundred, and eliminate a requirement that students spend a year in a public school first.. And families who meet the income guidelines when they first enroll could double their income without being kicked out of the program
Teachers and public-school groups have contended vouchers siphon money from public schools, and warn the expansion would compound the problem. Indiana School Board Association executive director Frank Bush says vouchers were a bad idea, and increasing the amount is a worse one.
Meanwhile parents of voucher students praised the program for giving them options for their kids that they say public schools aren’t meeting.
One piece of the bill earned unanimous support from witnesses: a pilot program to help low-income families pay the cost of preschool. But voucher opponents say the preschool scholarships should be broken into a separate bill.
The committee plans to vote Thursday.