updated: 4/19/2012 7:53:00 AM
A non-partisan school choice organization says the Indiana Department of Education will redistribute more than $4 million in savings from the state's voucher program. School Choice Indiana says nearly 4,000 low- and middle-income students benefited during the program's first year.
April 19, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS, April 18, 2012 – Indiana’s voucher program has been applauded for bringing school options to Hoosier families. Now, the program is being recognized for redistributing savings across the state too. According to data just released by the Indiana Department of Education, the first year of the voucher program will result in nearly $4.2 million in redistributed savings statewide.
In total, 292 public school corporations and 63 charter schools will benefit from redistributed savings generated by the voucher program. The Department of Education has asked the State Budget Agency to make the special choice distribution on May 18, 2012.
“We were thrilled to have nearly 4,000 low- and middle-income Hoosier students benefiting from vouchers in year one,” said Lindsey Brown, Executive Director of School Choice Indiana. “It’s exciting to be able to provide quality opportunities for kids, while saving the state millions of dollars that are now being distributed to Indiana schools. ”
Each school corporation’s distribution is determined based on its percentage share of state tuition support and a five-step calculation formula. A complete list of distributions for all public school corporations and charter schools is available at http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/finance/choice-savings-distribution-march-2012.pdf. Some of the largest choice distribution recipients include:
• Indianapolis Public Schools – $169,293.16
• Fort Wayne Community Schools – $129,331.93
• Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation – $91,354.73
• South Bend Community School Corporation – $89,272.41
• MSD Wayne Township – $68,261.54
“The fact that Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program is generating redistributed savings for the state is consistent with what we are seeing across the country” said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “This is good news because the redistributed savings recognized through this program will raise per-pupil allocations for the schools and allow them to have greater financial resources for educating students.”
In addition to the savings redistribution, the program application window is now open for 2012-2013. School Choice Indiana officials expect significantly more Indiana families to utilize vouchers to enroll in schools that meet the learning needs of their children. So, the organization will be working throughout the spring and summer to educate as many Hoosier families as possible about eligibility, participating schools, application guidelines and more.
Parent information sessions are already being held in communities across the state, and the list of upcoming meetings is available on School Choice Indiana’s Facebook page. To get more information about the voucher program and other school choice options, families can also visit the MyChoiceINed.com website.
Income guidelines for the 2012-2013 school year have been updated based on the new free-and-reduced lunch program rates. Students qualifying for the federal free-and-reduced lunch program ($42,643 for a family of four) are eligible for a voucher worth up to 90 percent of the state tuition amount for the sending school district. Children from families who earn up to 150 percent of the free-and-reduced lunch eligibility (around $63,964 for a family of four) can receive a scholarship for up to 50 percent of the tuition amount. Nearly 85 percent of voucher recipients in the 2011-2012 school year were on the free-and-reduced lunch program.
To be eligible for participation in the voucher program, children in grades 2–12 must have attended a public school for the prior two semesters. Students in grades 1–12 who received a scholarship from a certified scholarship granting organization in the previous year can apply to the program as well.
In the 2011–2012 school year, the number of available vouchers was capped at 7,500 children. This year the participation cap increases to 15,000 students. Currently, there are approximately 270 non-public schools across Indiana accepting voucher students.
About School Choice Indiana: School Choice Indiana, Inc. is a non-partisan, statewide organization dedicated to the principle that providing parents with real choices in the education of their children will improve educational outcomes and improve the quality of education, both in private and public schools. More information about School Choice Indiana could be found at http://www.schoolchoiceindiana.com.
Source: School Choice Indiana