Blogger Steve Hinnefeld posts about the new state budget proposals in Indiana, which increases spending on education. Unfortunately, a disproportionate share of the increase is allocated to expanding vouchers. A family with two children and an income of $222,000 will qualify for vouchers to a private or religious school. This does not “save poor kids trapped in failing schools.” It is a subsidy for the affluent.

He writes:

Indiana House Republicans are bragging that their proposed state budget will make record investments in education, including an 8.5% increase in K-12 funding next year. That’s not false, but it’s misleading.

A huge chunk of that increase would go to private schools under a vastly expanded voucher program, not to the public schools that most Hoosier students attend.

The budget would boost state funding for K-12 schools by $697 million next year, an 8.5% increase from what the state is spending this year. But it’s estimated that about $260 million of next year’s increase would go to growing the voucher program, according to the Indiana Capital Chronicle.

In other words, 37% of the new money for education would go to vouchers that pay tuition for private schools, which enroll just over 7% of Indiana K-12 students. That’s hardly equitable.

The budget appropriation for base school funding, which accounts for 80% of state funding for public schools, would increase by only 4% next year and 0.7% the following year, House Republicans admit. That’s nowhere close to the current or expected rate of inflation….

The budget legislation would expand the voucher program to include families that make up to 7.4 times the federal poverty level: $222,000 next year for a family of four. Overall, the state would spend $1.1 billion on vouchers over two years, double the current spending rate.

It would also eliminate the “pathways” that students must follow to qualify for vouchers, such as having attended a public school, being eligible for special education or being the sibling of a voucher student. In practice, any student can qualify for vouchers by receiving tuition funding from a “scholarship granting organization.” But eliminating the pathways will make it simpler to get a voucher.

I’ve written about the many reasons vouchers are a bad idea: for example, voucher schools aren’t accountable or subject to public oversight; they discriminate against students, families and employees; they cause students to fall behind academically; and more. But what’s truly confounding about this voucher expansion is that it would benefit only people who don’t need it.

Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, said the objective is to increase “options.” “We want those parents to have the best choice they can have with regard to where their children should go, and all parents should have that,” he told reporters.

But a couple with two kids and an income of $222,0000 already has “options.” They can pay private school tuition without state assistance. In fact, it’s likely that most students who join the voucher program are already attending private schools. This is a handout for affluent families.

Please open the link and read the post in full.