Catholic Schools Prepare For Enrollment Boost From Voucher Program

By Jeff Neumeyer

July 7, 2011 Updated Jul 7, 2011 at 4:17 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Fort Wayne's Catholic schools roll out the welcome mat to voucher families.

The head of the Indiana Catholic Conference came to town Thursday, saying space in local Catholic schools may fill up fast, now that government vouchers are available for hundreds of Hoosier families.

Glenn Tebbe, the Executive Director of the Indiana Catholic Conference, says children from Catholic families will be given top priority for openings, but he insists non-Catholics are also welcome, provided space is available.

Tebbe believes nearly all private schools in the Fort Wayne area will opt to take voucher students this fall.

The legislature this past spring approved tuition assistance be afforded to low and middle-income families who want to send their children to private, religious, or other non-public schools.

It shakes up the education landscape.

Tebbe says, as a rule, families dissatisfied with their neighborhood school picked up and moved.

Director Glenn Tebbe/Indiana Catholic Conference: " Lower income families aren't able to do that, so what this program does, is it really tries to level the playing field somewhat, providing a greater support for those with the least amount of means."

The voucher program is under legal challenge right now.

The state teacher's association says it violates the Indiana Constitution.

The union is trying to have the law struck down, claiming it could siphon money way from public schools.

Families can click on the link related to this story to find out more about the voucher program.

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