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Nearly 4,000 students seek private-school vouchers

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Nearly 4,000 Hoosier students are using state-funded vouchers to attend private schools, according to the latest data from the Indiana Department of Education.

The program, which gives students an average of $4,500 from the state to apply toward private-school tuition, was created this year by the Indiana General Assembly. The Legislature placed an enrollment cap this year of 7,500 and will raise the cap next year to 15,000.

After that, there will be no cap on the program, which gives it the potential to be the largest voucher program in the United States. The program is limited, however, to students from low- to moderate-income households who have previously attended public schools.

There are more than 1 million students in K-12 public schools in Indiana, with nearly 100,000 in private schools, according to data from the Department of Education.

A total of 3,919 students received vouchers for the 2011-12 school year, up from the 3,200 who had received them as of late August—the last time the Department of Education reported the statistics. More than 250 private schools were approved to accept vouchers, and the biggest beneficiaries so far have been Catholic schools.

The students using vouchers came from 185 different school districts, out of about 350 total statewide. Eighty-five percent of the students come from families whose household incomes qualify them for free or reduced lunch, according to the Department of Education. Just over 30 percent of students are from rural and suburban Indiana, and more than half of the students represent minority households.

“Demographics do not determine a child’s ability to grow academically and should not determine the educational opportunities offered to any student,” said Tony Bennett, Indiana’s secretary of public instruction, in a prepared statement.



 

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  • Ummm, Tim
    Try $7500 per student in IPS. You can read the whole article right on this very site
  • Value
    I live in Washington township and send 2 kids to private school (12k each) and worth every penny. Why is it that IPS can't come close when approximately 16k is appropriated per child??
  • Hmmm
    I wonder how many parents accepting these special education entitlements whine about welfare, food stamps, free lunch programs...If you want your kid to go to private school (especially religious ones), get a better job and pay for it yourselves.
  • Tired of me mentality
    Thanks city lady for offering the opportunity to comment on your inane suggestion. First we have to assume your parents paid for you to be privately educated and if not, that you have since reimbursed the state/city/county that provided your education since you won't tolerate a free ride (even if your parents paid property tax, keep in mind that in no way covered the full cost of your education for 12 years).

    With that out of the way, let's consider that as of 2007 the US Census data indicated 18% of those under the age of 18 were living below the poverty level. If you were to assume an equal distribution over the next highest income level, you would have at least 35-40% of the children in the US priced out of having any primary level education. If you thought things were bad now, imagine 40% of our population being illiterate since their parents couldn't afford to send them to school under your proposal. That would put us at a literacy rate on par with that of Haiti; how forward thinking! Parents couldn't home school either because they would be working their minimum wage job just to keep a roof over their children's heads.

    Since you don't want to pay for education, let's make sure you don't pay for fire protection, police protection, libraries, roads, sidewalks or any other of the myriad of items your property tax covers. I am sure all the fire, police and public health personnel would gladly come to your aid even though you didn't ask for a road to be built by your house, or a library, or a fire station, or a police station. They would be even more inclined to help since most of them were likely educated within a public school system like the vast majority of us were; unlike you who paid their own way for their K-12 education.

    Remember the constitution starts with 'We the people', not 'Me the people'. We don't all have to have doctorate degrees and you certainly have a right to disagree with the voucher program. However, suggesting we shouldn't put forth the effort to ensure every child has the opportunity to have a full primary education is incredibly short-sighted.
  • City Lady's Right
    Every person for themselves, and devil take the hindmost.
  • society
    I don't have kids either....and I'm happy to see my taxes go to public education. We are all part of society,a dn it behooves us to educate the young; as we age, they become the generation of majority making decisions that effect every part of lives; and I prefer to have those decisions made by an educated person; We owe it to ourselve as much as to the kids to educate them; I know that I do not enjoy being around ill mannered, uneducated youth, and there would be a much larger population of them if we didn't use our tax dollars to eductate the children.
  • Unnecessary
    If the public schools would put in $4500 per child for education maybe there wouldn't be a need for private schools. As a property owner, without children, I resent having to pay for kids that are not mine. Charge parents for sending their kids to school public or private, then that will end any appropriation of funding for schools. Make parents responsible for the education of their child in totality. Why should people who don't have children have to pay to educate other people's children? Why doesn't the Department of Education put their money into public schools and if parents aren't happy, let them pay for it themselves. If your child isn't learning, maybe your home life is the reason, private school won't help!

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