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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Indiana has a right idea for education

Indiana passes new school choice program

Home of Friedman Foundation first new state in 2009 to be added to school choice ranks

Indiana lawmakers today approved a $2.5 million scholarship tax credit program in the home state of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. The new scholarship program was inserted into the state's budget and won approval in the late hours of the special legislative session. The bill, which passed the Senate 34-16 and the House 61-36, now goes to the governor who is anticipated to sign it in the coming days.

"The state of Indiana today joined a growing number of states that are putting the educational needs of children before partisan politics by adopting school choice programs," said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation. "Indiana's scholarship tax credit program received support from members of both parties as well as strong support from Governor Mitch Daniels, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, and House Republican Leader Brian Bosma. We're grateful that Senate budget negotiator Luke Kenley and the other legislators held firm in budget discussions and worked so hard to provide parents with meaningful options for their children. We'd also like to acknowledge the support of the original authors of Senate Bill 528, Senators Carlin Yoder, Marlin Stutzman and Joe Zakas, Senate Education Committee Chair Teresa Lubbers, House Education Committee ranking Republican member Bob Behning, and House Ways and Means Committee ranking Republican member, Jeff Espich," Enlow said.

We would also like to acknowledge the role that our state and local allies in the school choice movement have played in this victory, including School Choice Indiana and their leader Fred Klipsch, as well as the Indiana Non-Public Education Association and the Indiana Catholic Conference.

"We are proud that this year's first new school choice program is located in our home state and that thousands of Hoosier families will now have real options when it comes to finding the school that best fits their child's educational needs," Enlow added.

A similar tax credit proposal passed the Senate with bi-partisan support during the regular legislative session. Governor Daniels kept the measure alive by including it in his budget proposal during the special legislative session, and the senate re-inserted the program in their special session budget proposal. Indiana is the first new state to join the school choice family so far this year.

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