(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Supporters of Indiana’s new school voucher program enjoyed a legal victory Monday.
Marion Superior Court Judge Michael Keele denied a preliminary injunction against the start of the program while a larger legal battle is hashed out in the courts. That means the program can remain in effect this school year.
Various educators, parents, and school administrators filed the suit in July claiming the Choice Scholarship Program violates the Indiana Constitution. The plaintiffs argue taxpayers are being forced to support religious education through the publically funded vouchers students can use to attend private schools.
A vast majority of the 240-plus schools the Indiana Department of Education has approved to participate in the program are religious.
Keele stated in his ruling the plaintiffs "failed to demonstrate any likelihood of success on the merits" of the case, a key criterion for getting a preliminary injunction.”
The judge also compared the program to a state scholarship fund for college, where students can attend either private or public institutions. It is not considered a direct tax to support specific churches
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, whose office is defending the state in the lawsuit, said the ruling is a victory
“While lawsuits challenging the exercise of state and federal government authority are not unexpected, the court's ruling indicates there is not an immediate need to halt the program and disrupt the start of the school year for these students. My office will continue to defend this new statute the Legislature passed in any future court proceedings," Zoeller said.
An appeal on the decision, if sought by the plaintiffs, would go to the Indiana Court of Appeals.