Red State School Choice Program Sees Largest Growth In Years

[YouTube | Screenshot: NBC News]

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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During the 2022-2023 school year, Indiana’s school choice program recorded its largest growth since the 2014-2015 academic year, according to a recent analysis by the state Department of Education.

The number of students participating in the state’s private school voucher program increased by 20%, with more than 53,000 students participating in the program during the 2022-2023 school year compared to 44,376 in the 2021-2022 school year, according to the analysis. The increase in the state’s school choice program contributes to the growing popularity and push for such initiatives across the country. (RELATED: Democratic Gov Announces That He Will Veto School Choice Program)

Under the school choice program, which began in 2011, families that make an annual salary less than 400% of the amount required to qualify for the federal reduced-price lunch program are eligible to receive taxpayer-funded vouchers to spend on expenses outside the public school system, according to the program’s website. The average voucher amount awarded during the 2022-2023 school year was $5,854.34, the analysis showed.

The state spent $311.8 million on the school choice program during the 2022-2023 school year, a 29% increase from the 2021-2022 academic year, the analysis showed. The program is expected to have about 95,000 students participating by 2025.

[YouTube | Screenshot: NBC News]

[YouTube | Screenshot: NBC News]

The “average” student who used the program during the 2022-2023 school year was a white female K-8 student, the analysis states. More than 340 private schools participated in the school choice program in the 2022-2023 school year, the most ever recorded.

Throughout the country, lawmakers are moving to enact school choice programs within their states; on July 4, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a 2024-2025 budget that expanded on the state’s already established school voucher program. In March, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a piece of legislation creating a universal school voucher program for the state.

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