An Indiana judge is scheduled to hear arguments tomorrow in a suit challenging the state’s new school voucher program.
The program was created by the Republican-led 2011 General Assembly and allows parents who meet income guidelines and are unhappy with their public schools to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private schools.
Critics say the program runs counter to the Indiana Constitution’s guarantee of a “uniform system of common schools”
On a recent afternoon in front of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, Sherry Pfund explained why she wants to use the voucher program for her granddaughter, McKenzie.
“Her father is a single parent, and you know, he’s struggling. And he wants her to have a very good education and this is a wonderful opportunity,” she said.
McKenzie transferred this year from a nearby public school to St. Mary’s Catholic Academy, where she just started third grade, and Pfund has applied for a state voucher to help cover tuition.
“You know, there’s a lot of things that the public schools are not offering anymore, and if we can get it, she deserves it, the kids deserve to have that kind of education.”
McKenzie’s family is among more than a thousand across Indiana to seek vouchers during the program’s first year. About 200 private schools are participating—nearly half of them religion-based institutions.
Supporters say the program offers low and middle income families access to good schools they otherwise could not afford to consider. Students can receive up to $4,500 annually toward private school tuition
But others are calling the program unconstitutional and bad educational policy.