Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz made it clear Tuesday that she won’t support legislative efforts to expand taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools.
Supporters say the bill would help students who have been expelled or dropped out of school get back on track, while critics contend it’s too broad.
The pro-voucher Institute for Quality Education reported last week that 32,955 students applied to use vouchers this year, which would be a gain of more than 3,800, or about 13 percent.
Providence Cristo Rey is one of a handful of Indiana schools with overwhelming numbers of low-income students that is achieving results at least as good as or better than the state average.
Statewide school voucher programs across the U.S. are starting to see demand level off, but Indiana's relatively new program has yet to discover its capacity, Indiana University researchers say.
Voucher use is up significantly in Hamilton County districts, but most children using the program still live in the state’s largest, poorest cities with some of the most troubled public schools.
Republicans have rejected Democrats' calls to specify in Indiana's state budget how much money is going toward traditional public schools, charter schools and the private school voucher program.
The study released Wednesday by the Indiana Non-Public Education Association shows that 80 of the more than 300 private schools in the voucher program were overpaid $3.9 million over three years.
Democrats released the numbers Friday, saying they are evidence that the voucher program supported by Republicans is stealing money from public schools.
An Indiana Department of Education report shows that changes to the state's private school voucher program are costing the state roughly $16 million. Voucher supporters questioned the report’s accuracy.
Four in 10 students using vouchers never attended an Indiana public school, even though the original 2011 law that authorized the program required it.
Chalkbeat Indiana will focus on Indianapolis Public Schools, the Indiana General Assembly and the State Board of Education. Editor Scott Elliott took the reins on Monday.
Both sides agreed they could use more data on how the individual voucher recipients are performing. More than 20,000 students applied for vouchers this year, up from roughly 9,300 students last year.
The Indiana Department of Education reports it received 20,047 applications for vouchers for the 2013-14 school year.
The Indiana education overhaul associated with Tony Bennett and then-Gov. Mitch Daniels actually was crafted in private by a handful of state GOP bigwigs, including Al Hubbard, Mark Miles and Mark Lubbers, according to emails obtained by the Associated Press. Elected officials weren’t included for months.
The Indiana Department of Education announced Wednesday that $5 million is owed the state's schools because of savings achieved through school vouchers.