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Voucher plan hits brick wall

THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Updated: May 13, 2013 5:00PM



The plow-ahead mindset for Indiana’s two-year-old school voucher plan met its brick wall when the chairman of the Indiana Senate’s Appropriations Committee signaled his objections. Boiled down, Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, asked: Can’t we just slow down?

There have been plenty of Hoosiers encouraging the General Assembly to take a breather on the voucher system — perhaps no bigger message sent than the election of voucher skeptic Glenda Ritz as state superintendent of public instruction. If that public show wasn’t enough, the state should wait for the Indiana Supreme Court to rule on a challenge of the current voucher system.

But despite that, the Indiana House sent to the Senate a bill that would change the voucher system by stripping a provision that requires a student to try a public school for at least a year before qualifying for a private school voucher. The bill also would adjust some income guidelines, and clear the way for siblings of students receiving vouchers.

During a Senate committee hearing, Kenley raised a number of questions, saying he voted for the original voucher system only after it included the one-year-in-public-school stipulation.

Vouchers, given time, likely will win. Still, Kenley’s question reverberates: Has Indiana given vouchers enough time to see whether they’re working the way they’re supposed to work? Perhaps even more important: Has Indiana given enough time to see that the voucher system holds up in court?

(Lafayette) Journal and Courier



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