Friday, February 22, 2013

IN House Votes to Expand Private School Choice Program

Thousands of low-income students in the Hoosier State are one step closer to receiving an education that works for their needs, thanks to moves made by the state House to approve the expansion of the state’s private school choice program.

House Bill 1003 passed the House chamber by a vote of 57-36 on Thursday.

In a press release announcing the vote, bill sponsor Rep. Bob Behning (R-91) said, “This legislation will give many Hoosier students the ability to access areas of education that are currently out of reach due to financial limitations. 

“We are telling people that, here in Indiana, our education system knows no boundaries and wants to give every student the best possible start. I firmly believe that every Hoosier student deserves the chance to learn and every parent the choice to decide what is in the best interest of their child,” continued Rep. Behning.

Some of the changes the bill makes to the current law include providing incoming kindergartners with access to the program and lightening eligibility requirements for children in military and foster families, and for special needs students.

The bill also allows family incomes of current scholarship recipients to rise above the initial limits to about $84,000 a year without jeopardizing their child’s scholarship.

According to our 2013 School Choice Yearbook data, 9,324 students received scholarships to attend the school of their choice for the 2012-13 school year.  This number was nearly 6,000 more than the number of students who took advantage of the program in its first year, which was the 2011-12 school year.

Indiana is also home to the Corporate and Individual Scholarship Tax Credit Program, which allowed 2,890 students to receive a quality education in 2012-13.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, KMS

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