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Indiana voucher program returns $5M to public schools

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Indiana's growing school voucher program is resulting in a modest gain for the state's public schools.

The Indiana Department of Education announced Wednesday that $5 million is owed the state's schools because of savings achieved through school vouchers.

The state spends less money on students receiving vouchers than for public school students, and the difference is returned to public schools. The 2011 law creating the state's voucher program also mandated the DOE annually calculate how much money was saved through vouchers and report it to the state's budget leaders.

Melissa Ambre, DOE director of school finance, wrote in a memo to members of the State Budget Committee, that even though there was roughly $5 million saved, the state only had enough money to return $3.3 million to schools.

Voucher supporters have said the savings prove vouchers are good for Indiana's public schools as well as private schools. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which has led the drive for vouchers, determined in a February study that any voucher under $8,000 improves a public school's finances.

But opponents, led by the state's teachers unions, have said the state is still spending less on public schools than before the recession.

"Public schools aren't getting the money that's been cut from the budget," said Rick Muir, president of the American Federation of Teachers-Indiana. "They can claim that all they want, but public schools are receiving much less funding than they have prior to vouchers."

State lawmakers approved a biennial budget last month that spends an additional $300 million on schools over the next two years but also spends more for an expansion of the voucher program. Efforts to expand the state's voucher program further, to cover students already enrolled in private schools and others, stalled this year amid concerns over how much more it would cost the state.

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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