The Indiana Supreme Court ruled 5-0 the state’s vouchers program is constitutional, against complaints it represents state funding of religion and undermines a constitutionally required system of public schools.
“The voucher program expenditures do not directly benefit religious schools but rather directly benefit lower-income families with school-children by providing an opportunity for such children to attend non-public schools if desired,” the court’s opinion says.
Currently, the two-year-old program allows 9,324 children from low- and middle-income families to take part of their state education funding to approved private schools. This fall it will have no enrollment cap.
The March court decision likely marks the end of lawsuits against the program on such grounds, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled similarly on a different case in 2002.
Indiana’s legislature is considering expanding the vouchers to include siblings of voucher recipients, special-needs children, kids in foster care, and military children. It also would increase the cap on the individual voucher amount to $6,500 from its current $4,500.
Twenty-two states and Washington, DC offer some type of private school choice. Nationwide, 104,000 students attend private schools using vouchers.
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