News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Local & Bistate

March 20, 2013

Voucher opponents rally at the Statehouse

INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of people gathered at the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday to rally against a bill that would expand the state’s private-school voucher program, already the largest in the nation.

Chanting “no more vouchers” and carrying signs with such messages as “Don’t use my tax money to teach religion,” opponents of the legislation said growing the voucher program would siphon away millions of dollars from traditional public schools still hurting from past budget cuts.

Indiana PTA president Sharon Wise called the legislation, supported by Republican Gov. Mike Pence, “a massive overstep.”

A Senate committee is scheduled to hear the bill today; the House has already passed a version of the legislation that could significantly expand the number of private- and religious school students eligible for the state-paid vouchers.

A roar of approval from the crowd went up when Vigo County Schools Superintendent Danny Tanoos said lawmakers need to be reminded of last November’s election, when voucher-opponent and school teacher, Glenda Ritz, beat Republican incumbent Tony Bennett, a voucher supporter, in the race for state schools superintendent.  

The rally took place in the large, open-ceilinged atrium of the Indiana Statehouse as legislators, meeting in session a floor above, could hear the crowd chanting and applauding the rally’s speakers.

It was organized by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, whose members helped launch a social media campaign credited for Ritz’s surprise victory.

Tuesday’s rally was large and loud but it paled in comparison to a Statehouse rally held last week by voucher supporters, who bussed in children from private and parochial schools that accept the state vouchers as tuition payments.  

Pence spoke at that rally, along with several Republican legislative leaders.

The governor supports legislation that would loosen the restrictions on the state’s current voucher program, which provides an average of $4,100 in tuition payments for about 9,100 students from low-income families enrolled in private and parochial schools.

Pence backed a version of the bill that would've opened the program up to thousands of more students by waiving the requirement that students attend at least one year of public school before they can apply for a voucher.

The House passed a scaled-back version of the bill that allows kindergarteners and siblings of current voucher students to be eligible for a voucher without having to wait a year.

House Democrats who voted against the bill argued it was fiscally irresponsible to expand the program when it is only in its second year and while a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality is awaiting a ruling from the Indiana Supreme Court.

Senate Republicans may rein in the bill for fiscal reasons. State Sen. Luke Kenley, the powerful chairman of the Senate appropriations committee has already said he opposes expanding the program until the state has a better handle on its future costs.  

The House Republican budget bill forecasts spending for the voucher program to grow over the next two years from the current $37 million a year to $63 million annually, with the number of students growing to 15,000 in the 2014-2015 school year.

Those additional dollars would come from the $270 million that House Republicans want to restore to K-12 school funding, which was cut by almost $300 million in the past budget cycle due to the recession. Pence opposes that additional education funding, and instead is pushing for a cut in the state’s income tax rate.

The state Supreme Court is weighing the legality of the program after hearing arguments in November over a lawsuit pressed by the Indiana State Teachers Association.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity