(Indianapolis, Ind.) - A bill that expands Indiana's school voucher program – already bragging the widest eligibility in the nation – is now law.
Governor Mike Pence signed the bill, House Enrolled Act 1003, Thursday in a ceremony at Calvary Christian Academy, a private school in Indianapolis.
"Our Hoosier students deserve every opportunity to be successful," said Governor Pence. "That includes having the choice to attend the school that works best for them. Thanks to this legislation, Hoosier students and their families now have more educational options available to meet their individual needs. I applaud the General Assembly for their commitment to quality education in Indiana."
Previously, all students in the Indiana Choice Scholarship program would have to first attend a public school for at least one year before receiving the voucher. The expansion eliminates those requirements for siblings of current voucher students and children living in a school district in which a school has received a state performance grade of F.
The new law also increases the income threshold for voucher families.
“It’s the right thing to ensure that our children are not required to attend schools that don’t work for them, because their parents don’t have the financial means to relocate or send them to a different school,” Pence said.
State Senator Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) was one of the Senate co-sponsors of HEA 1003.
According to the Indiana Department of Education, the number of children in the voucher program statewide could increase from over 9,100 this year to nearly 16,000 next school year.
On March 26, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the law establishing the voucher program following a legal challenge from a group of Indiana educators.