Wednesday, March 30, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS, IN—The Indiana House of Representatives today passed legislation that would become the nation’s broadest voucher program, allowing low- and middle-income families to use taxpayer funds to send their children to the private school of their choice.
Earlier in the day, a crowd estimated at 1,000 parents, children, teachers, and supporters of reform gathered outside the State House in support of expanding educational options.
“The goal is to make sure as many kids as possible get choice,” said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Foundation for Educational Choice.
House Bill 1003, approved in a 56-41 vote, creates a new scholarship program that enables families to send their children to the private school of their choice. Scholarship amounts are determined on a sliding scale based on income, with families receiving up to 90 percent of state support.
This program would be open to far more students than other systems, where vouchers are limited to low-income households, students in failing schools, or special-needs students. Under HB 1003, families earning up to $60,000 per year would be eligible. Within three years, there would be no limit on the number of eligible students.
The bill also improves Indiana’s scholarship tax credit program by increasing the percentage of state tax credit, increasing the program cap by $10 million in each year after a year when the cap is reached, and by increasing family income eligibility.
Governor Mitch Daniels, former chancellor of Washington, D.C. schools Michelle Rhee, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long addressed the crowd at the rally, organized by the Indianapolis-based Foundation for Educational Choice and partners, including School Choice Indiana.
“School vouchers put the power to choose the education that’s best for children where it belongs – in the hands of the families themselves,” said Enlow. “As we saw at today’s thousand-person rally, that power is a right Indiana families passionately believe they deserve.”
About the Foundation for Educational Choice
The Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children. First established as the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in 1996, the foundation continues to promote school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America. The foundation is dedicated to research, education, and outreach on the vital issues and implications related to choice and competition in K-12 education.