Senator: Voucher expansion must get House OK first - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Senator: Voucher expansion must get House OK first

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INDIANAPOLIS -

The chairman of the Indiana Senate Education Committee says any proposals to expand the state's private school voucher system will have to be first approved by the Indiana House.

Republican Sen. Dennis Kruse of Auburn tells The Associated Press that his committee won't vote as planned Wednesday on a bill that would make it easier for siblings of those already in the program to also receive vouchers.

The proposal has faced some opposition because it would sidestep a requirement included in the 2011 law that all students spend at least a year in public schools before becoming eligible for the subsidies toward paying private school tuition.

Kruse says he wants to see whether the House will approve a broader bill that would completely end the one-year waiting period.

Indiana has the country's largest voucher program. It provides public subsidies to low- and moderate-income families toward sending their children to private schools. The state Supreme Court is weighing the legality of the program now in its second year.

The state is spending about $36 million to provide more than 9,000 vouchers this school year.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has expressed support for school vouchers.

Last week in his inaugural address, Pence talked about the need to expand the school voucher program, pre-kindergarten and vocational education. Throughout his gubernatorial campaign, he said he believes it is time to make career, technical and vocational education a priority in Indiana.

"Even as we encourage every student to go to college, we recognize not every student is college bound. But they all deserve the same opportunity for success. Since all honest work is honorable work, our schools should work just as well for our kids who want to get a job as they do for our kids who want to get a college degree," the governor said.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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