Editor’s note: This article appeared last week on in.chalkbeat.org.
A bill that would expand school choice in Indiana has advanced with major changes. Senate lawmakers enlarged the pool of students who could receive state money to attend private schools, but backed away from an initial proposal that would have opened the state’s Education Scholarship Accounts to all students regardless of family income or education needs.
Sen. Brian Buchanan amended his bill on Wednesday to limit the accounts to families meeting the program’s current income requirements. His changes also would reserve half of the total appropriation for students who receive special education services — the group the accounts currently serve.
The amended legislation passed the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development by a vote of 8-5, with GOP Sen. Jean Leising joining the four Democrats on the committee in opposition. It now heads to the appropriations committee.
The bill could become one of the more notable education policy legacies of Indiana’s 2023 legislative session. Proponents say it puts more control in parents’ hands over their children’s education.
“Any time you can give more choice and more options for parents, I believe it’s better,” said the bill’s author, Buchanan, in committee hearings last week.
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