Yesterday the Indiana Supreme Court handed parents and students everywhere a major victory when it upheld — by a 5-0 vote — the constitutionality of Indiana’s school voucher program, the nation’s largest.
The decision ends an almost a two year long legal battle waged by Indiana taxpayers and the National Education Association. The plaintiffs claimed that the vouchers improperly benefited private religious schools and violated the state’s Blaine Amendment which prohibits drawing money from the state treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution.
The court said, “the voucher program expenditures do not directly benefit religious schools, but rather directly benefit low income families with school children by providing an opportunity for school children to attend nonpublic schools if desired.”
The decision is good news for Indiana families. Currently more than half the state’s student population qualifies for the existing school voucher program. The Indiana legislature is considering a major expansion of the voucher program which would expand eligibility to include siblings of current voucher recipients, students in foster care and the children of active military personnel.The legislation would also increase the size of the current voucher from $4,500 to $6.500.
This is good news for school choice advocates in North Carolina. Earlier this year, a Special Needs Scholarship Grant was introduced in the legislature. The legislature would provide parents of special needs students up to $3,000 per semester to help with the educational costs of special needs children.