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IN Senate approves school voucher expansion

The Indiana Senate Wednesday narrowly passed legislation expanding the state’s school voucher program. The bill passed 27 to 23, with ten Republicans joining all 13 Democrats voting against it. Senator Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) was one of the ten voting against it.

The Senate scaled back the extent of voucher expansion.  The original House version entirely removed the requirement that voucher recipients attend public school for at least one year after kindergarten.  The Senate’s version keeps that requirement but allows kindergarten to count toward that time.  The Senate also added a provision allowing students to skip public school if the public school they are supposed to attend received an F under the state’s rating system.

Senator Carlin Yoder (R-Middlebury) says the bill is about helping ensure no Hoosier children have to attend a failing school.

“That every kid in Indiana has a right to good education, the right to move themselves forward and the right to be successful in life and this bill does that.  This bill is a family friendly bill.”

However, Senator Tim Skinner (D-Terre Haute) says voucher expansion takes much-needed money away from public schools, which serve far more Hoosier children.

“I can’t believe that the advocates of the vouchers can speak so loudly and hear so strongly the voices of so few and ignore the voices of so many.”

The measure now likely heads to conference committee for the House and Senate to work out their differences.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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