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Indiana School Voucher Program Doubles

Last updated on Friday, August 24, 2012

(TERRE HAUTE) - For the second year in a row, Hoosier parents have been able to use state vouchers for private school. The numbers of students participating are significantly up from last year.

Michael Clouse, of WTHI TV, reports in 2011, Indiana lawmakers passed a bill that for the first time allowed parents to send their kids to private schools, with the state paying the bill.

Students can apply for vouchers, which are worth upwards to $5,000.

It's the first program of it's kind in the state.

Last year, just over 3,900 students signed up statewide.

This year, the state reports that number is more than double at over 8,000 vouchers.

News 10 talked with Amy McClain, the principal at St. Patrick's School in Terre Haute to see how this system is affecting local schools.

She says last year, her school saw an increase of 14 students. This year, they have 48 students using the voucher system.

Those students helped increase the school's enrollment from 297 to 340.

"No longer does it matter where you live," said McClain. "If you choose to go to a private, or parochial school, in our case, you can make the decision to take your tax dollars to that particular school."

This year, Indiana had 15,000 vouchers to hand out. This is the last year there will be a cap on vouchers.

Public schools are also feeling the effect of the voucher program. Many are running campaigns encouraging students to stay in public school.

Every student that accepts a voucher is money public schools don't get from the state for that student.

Lawmakers say its an incentive for public schools to improve.

The issue has even reached the Indiana Supreme Court, who says it will hear a case from opponents who say it is a violation of separation of church and state.

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