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Fewer voucher students attending public school initially

As Indiana’s voucher program grows, fewer participating students are attending public school before switching to private school.

That’s according to a report released this week by the Indiana Department of Education.

During the program’s first two years, income-eligible students had to spend at least two semesters in a public school to receive a voucher.

But changes approved by lawmakers last year mean siblings of current students, students living in the attendance zone of a failing school, and students receiving special education services now automatically qualify for vouchers.

That added about 5,200 students to the Choice Scholarship Program who previously would not have been eligible.

Indiana will pay an estimated $81-million in private school tuition for the 2013-2014 school year, up from $15.5-million in 2011-12.