Indiana: One Step Closer to the Most Expansive School Choice to Date

Lindsey Burke /

On Thursday, the Indiana Senate approved what could become the nation’s largest school voucher program. If signed by Governor Mitch Daniels (R), the plan will allow Indiana children throughout the state to use a scholarship to attend a private school of their choice.

The proposal, which has already made it through the Indiana House once, must now go back to the House of Representatives since the Senate enhanced the bill’s school choice options by adding a $1,000 tax deduction to the measure to help parents pay for private school or homeschooling expenses.

Indiana’s school choice plan is the most sweeping in the country. The income limit for voucher-eligibility would be set at $61,000 for a family of four. According to the Foundation for Educational Choice, “Scholarship amounts are determined on a sliding scale based on income, with families receiving up to 90 percent of state support.”

Initially, vouchers would be limited to 7,500 children from families with income below 150 percent of the eligibility level for the federal free or reduced lunch program. After two years, 15,000 children from families within the income eligibility limits would be able to receive vouchers. After three years, the cap on the number of students would be lifted, allowing all children from income eligible families to participate. An estimated 62 percent of all Indiana families would be eligible. (more…)