(Indianapolis, Ind.) – An Indiana teachers union has filed a lawsuit to stop a school voucher law the same day it went into effect Friday.
The Indiana State Teachers Association says in a press release they have filed the suit in Marion County Superior Court requesting a preliminary injunction against the law, House Bill 1003.
Their argument centers around the separation of church and state. The union says the voucher law violates provisions of the Indiana Constitution by supporting religious institutions, ministries, and places of worship.
The association also claims the constitution prohibits the State from diverting public education funds from the “uniform system of Common Schools” that are “equally open to all,” and instead uses this public money to send some children to private schools that are free to exercise student admissions preferences based on religion and other factors.
“There is no question that this law violates the provisions of the Indiana Constitution that protect taxpayer dollars from being funneled to private, religious and for-profit organizations,” said Teresa Meredith, a teacher in the Shelbyville Central Schools and one of the plaintiffs in the case. “The CSP also violates laws that seek to safeguard Hoosier students. This voucher program will provide public funds to private schools that can give individual preference to students based on test scores, disabilities, wealth and personal faith. Such preferences should not be publicly funded.”
The association goes on to say the voucher law will drain money away from public schools which have already seen deep budget cuts and could face more teacher layoffs and larger class sizes.
As part of his education reform agenda aimed at giving parents more choices for educatin their children, Governor Mitch Daniels signed the voucher bill into law May 5. The Indiana Department of Education is preparing the voucher program to be ready in the fall.