In December, Indiana Governor Mike Pence declared that the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly would be an “education session”. With the close of the legislative session Wednesday night, school choice supporters agreed with Governor Pence’s assessment that it was a success. None of the accomplishments would have been possible without the leadership of House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long.
Some of the legislative changes related to nonpublic schools made in the budget bill, HB 1001, include:
- Removes the the arbitrary $4800 voucher cap: Until now, children receiving a voucher would be awarded a portion of what the student would receive in public school (50% or 90% – depending on the income level of the family), but no more than the cost of tuition & fees at the private school. However, vouchers for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade were arbitrarily capped at $4800. HB 1001 removed the arbitrary cap, which will increase the value of the scholarship by more than $700 in many cases.
- Increases the scholarship tax credit cap by $2 million over the biennium: Indiana’s popular scholarship tax credit nearly reached its $7.5 million cap last year. HB 1001 increased the cap by $1 million in each of the next two years, thereby allowing more students to receive a scholarship to attend the school of their choice.
- Provides grants to accredited nonpublic schools for certain assessments
- Increases funding for special education. This will increase the available services for nonpublic school students receiving vouchers and those receiving services from the public school district.
Thank you to our partners Hoosiers for Quality Education, The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Indiana Nonpublic Education Association and the many parents and school leaders who spoke out in support of school choice throughout the legislative session.