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Indiana Republicans Resolutely Work to Expand School Vouchers-WOWO1190 AM

Photo courtesy of Indiana State Capitol

Indianapolis (AP) — Republican lawmakers are urging a significant expansion of Indiana’s private school voucher program in the face of backlash from state-wide public school leaders.

The Republican-controlled State Senate has not yet announced a revised version of the Voucher Expansion Plan approved by the House of Representatives in February and is projected to increase the cost of the program by nearly 50% over the next two years.is more than 100 public boards of education Approved a resolution against the expansion. Consume nearly 40% of the total state funding increase from kindergarten to high school Advertised by Republicans.

The only question is how much to expand Congress in the coming weeks, despite complete opposition from the Democratic Party.

Martinsville Senator Pro Tem Rodrik Bray said Republican senators discussed the potential cost of expanding vouchers, but stuck to the GOP’s policy of “money follows children,” and the state goes to school. He said he was funding students instead.

“We will continue to do this because we believe that it is best for parents to choose where their daughters and sons are going,” says Bray.

Indiana launched a state-funded program in 2011 to help families pay for private school tuition. In the meantime, it has increased from about $ 16 million paid by about 3,900 students to an estimated $ 174 million for about 37,000 students this year.

House-approved changes Raising family eligibility limits and increasing the maximum payments for many families will encourage participation of approximately 12,000 students, or approximately one-third, over the next two years. Increase costs by nearly 50% Estimated $ 258 million for the 2022-23 academic year.

About one million students attend traditional state public schools.

Dozens of public and private school leaders and parents were among those who testified Thursday in front of the Senate on financial planning.

Joseph Miller, principal of the St. Adalbert Catholic School in South Bend, said the expansion of vouchers would allow more students to stay in his school. According to Miller, 90% of the 220 students in the school are Latino Americans in low-income families, and almost all students use vouchers to pay tuition.

“They chose us because we are safe, academically challenging and compassionate,” Miller said.

Indianapolis Public School Superintendent Aleesia Johnson joins the other members Voucher expansion enemy Those who maintain traditional public schools while educating about 90% of Indiana’s students are deficient in a share of about 60% of state funding.

“We’ve seen the state focus on equality over equality,” Johnson said of Indiana’s student funding scheme. “Can we say it’s fair to expand voucher qualifications … Special education students and (learning English) students know that their funding is stagnant and they need help When you know what you are doing? “

The House Budget Plan will increase the overall base funding of schools from kindergarten to high school by 1.25% in the first year and 2.5% in the second year of the new budget, which will start in July. This means that in two years, the total school funding will increase by about $ 378 million, about $ 125 million will be spent on additional vouchers, $ 19 million will be spent on new programs, and parents will spend on their children’s education. You will be able to spend your money directly.

The House-approved voucher plan will raise the income eligibility of a family of four from about $ 96,000 a year today to about $ 145,000 in 2022. Also, instead of the current step-by-step system, all students will receive the full voucher. Full vouchers are limited to such families whose income is about $ 48,000.

Public school officials also said that the Republican budget plan did not increase the per capita funding received by the school district, including students with disabilities, English learners, and homeless students, thus creating a school district with a high poverty rate. I am concerned about hurt.

David Marcott, executive director of the Indiana Urban School Association, said the additional funding has fallen 41% over the past five years, from $ 1,160 per student in 2014 to $ 693 last year.

“We need to raise money for these very complex schools so that poor children can get what they need,” he said. “That’s why it’s not time to fund the expansion of vouchers. Indiana can’t even afford to fund 90% of students attending traditional public schools, so they can afford it. There is none.”

Senate and House negotiators will finalize the new state’s spending plans after the new tax revenue forecasts are announced in early April.

Republican Speaker Todd Huston argues that the school turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for school choice options.

“I think this is the absolute right time to support parents’ ability to find the right school for their child,” Huston said. “I couldn’t imagine a better time than it is now.”

Indiana Republicans Resolutely Work to Expand School Vouchers-WOWO1190 AM

Source link Indiana Republicans Resolutely Work to Expand School Vouchers-WOWO1190 AM

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