2021 Indiana Legislative Update
Indiana Legislature Expands School Choice Program
The Indiana state legislature has approved a substantial expansion of the state’s voucher program, a move which will provide school choice for most middle-class families. Enacted in 2011, the program has grown from serving approximately 4,000 students its first year to serving over 36,000 students. The program is available to students currently enrolled in a public school, students in the zone for a public school with an F-rating, students in foster care, special education students, and siblings of current scholarship students. The approved changes will raise the household income limit to $145,000 for a family of four, $120,500 for a family of three, and $95,700 for a single-parent household. Additionally, the new law allows all participating families to receive 90% of the allotted funding per pupil at their neighborhood school; previously, only families on the lower end of the income level received 90%, while families on the higher end received only 50%. The new law also establishes an education savings account program for special education students. State Senator Jeff Raatz, chairman of the Senate education committee, stated, “A decade ago, Indiana decided to be a school choice state and we followed that along. . . . We have done a historic effort here. . . . We fund students and not systems, essentially.” The school choice expansion, included in a budget bill, received strong bipartisan support, passing 96-2 in the House and 46-3 in the Senate; and Governor Eric Holcomb has indicated he will sign the bill into law.
(Cited from the April 30, 2021 edition of the AACS Washington Flyer)