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Pence signs voucher expansion

– Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday signed into law an expansion of Indiana’s already extensive school voucher program.

“Our Hoosier students deserve every opportunity to be successful,” he said, surrounded by students at a Christian school in Indianapolis. “That includes having the choice to attend the school that works best for them. Thanks to this legislation, Hoosier students and their families now have more educational options available to meet their individual needs. I applaud the General Assembly for their commitment to quality education in Indiana.”

House Enrolled Act 1003 expands the state’s choice scholarship program, which allows students who meet financial guidelines to use a voucher to offset the costs of attending a private school of their choice.

The legislation allows current voucher recipients to continue participating in the program if their family incomes rise above the base income threshold. It also allows children who would otherwise attend an F-ranked public school to receive a voucher without having to attend one year of public school first.

And the bill widens eligibility for students with special needs and siblings of current voucher recipients.

Currently, more than 9,000 students receive vouchers worth a collective $37 million in tax dollars.

Pence also signed House Enrolled Act 1334, which creates an additional option for teachers to insure themselves against professional liability by creating a statewide insurance pool that teachers can opt into if they choose. Currently this is available through state teacher unions.