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Senate Democrats unite against nation’s largest voucher expansion
Start Date: 4/10/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 4/10/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
INDIANAPOLIS—Senate Democrats joined colleagues across the aisle to cast votes against legislation lifting the cap on public money used to subsidize private education. House Bill (HB) 1003, a bill expanding the state’s private school voucher program, would make public funds once narrowly limited available to a significantly larger population. State Senator Tim Skinner (D-Terre Haute) vocalized opposition to the measure on behalf of Senate Democrats noting that money newly available to private schools comes at a cost to public schools.

“We’re targeting half of our school funding formula for those who have chosen to leave public schools,” said Sen. Skinner. “We’ve done a lot for the 9,000 kids and 18,000 parents at the expense of the over one million students in public schools in Indiana. This voucher bill could potentially be the financial ruination of public schools in Indiana.”

Under the measure, students would no longer be required to attend a public school before opting out and receiving money for private education.  Language in the proposal also expands eligibility to students who merely live in a corporation with schools receiving low ratings. Previous law required students to attend public school for one year, before being eligible for a voucher. Over the next two years, the program is expected to siphon over $100 million from the state’s public school corporations.

State Senator Earline Rogers (D-Gary), Ranking Minority Member  on the Senate Education Committee also rose in opposition to the bill, voicing concern over the undetermined amount of tax-payer dollars that would be diverted from funds set aside for public education. Sen. Rogers says she hopes that in final negotiations, significant changes will be made to level the playing field for all Hoosier students.

“As we move along we will either eliminate the need for the bill or at least have something in the bill that will spread out the impact it has on our local school corporations,” said Sen. Rogers.

Senate Democrats unanimously opposed the measure and were joined by nearly a dozen Republicans. HB 1003 was narrowly approved by the Senate, 27-23 and now returns to the bill’s original author for approval of any changes made throughout the process.

For more information on the Senate Democrat Caucus or other business before the Indiana State Senate call 1-800-382-9467 or visit the website at www.senatedemocrats.in.gov.

 ###

NOTE: Audio from Sen. Skinner and Sen. Rogers on HB 1003 can be found below:

SEN. SKINNER: “When you total up all of the vouchers that we have given away in the last couple of years, it’s amounted to somewhere around 9,000 and we have done a lot for…”
http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_democrats/files/audio/Skinner.1003VoucherExpansion.040913.mp3
(Length – 00:36)

SEN. SKINNER: “We have tried all along to really identify the impact the voucher dollars are going to have on public education…”
http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_democrats/files/audio/Skinner.1003PassageConcerns.041013.mp3
(Length – 00:44)

SEN. ROGERS: “In our discussions on the voucher bill, I think that what stood out most in terms of opposition was the impact that it would have on our traditional schools…”
http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_democrats/files/audio/Rogers.1003PassageConcerns.041013.mp3
(Length – 01:03)

Contact Information:
Name: Elise Shrock-Mannies
Phone: 317-232-9496
Email: emannies@iga.in.gov
Sen. Skinner
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Education
  • Agency Name
    Senate Democratic Caucus

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