(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Arguments were heard Monday by a judge who could decide whether Indiana’s new school voucher program is constitutional.
A Marion Superior Court Judge says he will rule within 30 days on the matter after listening to two hours of reasoning from each side of the issue.
Indiana’s School Choice program is the largest voucher program in the nation. It went into effect July 1 after passing the state legislature and earning Governor Mitch Daniels’ signature.
The same day it became law, a group of educators backed by the Indiana State Teachers Association sued to stop it.
The opponents argue the program violates Indiana’s constitution because 99 percent of the vouchers are being used to send students to religious schools.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the parents and guardians of those students are deciding where the voucher money goes.
"In defending the statute as is our obligation, we contend the Legislature in creating broader educational opportunities followed the Indiana Constitution, since the scholarship funding is directed to students' families, not to the private schools, and the program does not violate anyone's rights. The state law that legislators passed has allowed approximately 3,900 students across Indiana to use choice scholarships to access wider educational options," Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement.
ISTA President Nate Schnellenberger has vowed that opponents are ready to take the case to the Indiana Supreme Court if necessary.
A number of southeast Indiana Catholic schools are among those participating in the program, including St. Mary School in Aurora, St. Louis School in Batesville, St. Michael School in Brookville, St. Paul Elementary School in Guilford, and St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg.