Blogger Steve Hinnefeld reports that the latest expansion of vouchers is a boon for rich families. So much for “saving poor kids from failing schools.” As we have seen in other states, 75-80% of voucher recipients are already enrolled in private and religious schools. The voucher money subsidizes those who are already paying for nonpublic schools.

He writes:

The voucher expansion that Indiana legislators approved last week constitutes a massive handout to religious institutions and a transfer of wealth from everyday Hoosiers to benefit Indiana’s elite.

Lawmakers voted early Friday to raise the income limit for families receiving private-school tuition vouchers from 300% to 400% of the level for receiving reduced-price school meals. For a family of four, that’s $220,000.

The expansion raises the cost to the state of the voucher program to $1.1 billion over the next two years. That’s up from an estimated $300 million that Indiana is spending this year on vouchers.

In fiscal year 2024, state funding for vouchers will increase by 72.3%. That compares with a 5.4% increase in state spending for traditional public schools and a 16.2% increase for charter schools.

Increases in funding in fiscal year 2024 for traditional public schools, charter schools and private school vouchers. Source: HEA 1001 and SEA 391.

State analysts estimate the expansion will grow the voucher program from its current 53,000 students to about 85,000 students next year and 95,000 the following year. The additional 30,000 to 40,000 students will come mostly from families that don’t now qualify. That is, they make more than $165,000 but less than $220,000 for four people.

A voucher is worth what the state would pay for a student to attend a local public school, typically about $7,000. A family with three children in private schools would get about $20,000 a year in state benefits.

In fiscal year 2024, over one-third of the increase in state funding for K-12 schools will go to a voucher expansion that benefits about 3% of the state’s students. We can assume that, if these families want their kids in private schools, they’re already there. The difference is, now the public will pay for it.

Please open the link and read on.