Indiana Supreme Court Upholds School Voucher Program

By Emma Koch

Indiana Supreme Court Upholds School Voucher Program

March 26, 2013 Updated Mar 26, 2013 at 11:05 AM EDT

INDIANA (www.incnow.tv) -- The Indiana Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion issued Tuesday, has upheld Indiana's statutory school voucher program which enables eligible parents to send their children to private schools.

Briefly, the court rejected claims that the program violates provisions of the Indiana Constitution regarding education and religion. The court emphasized that Indiana's Constitution does not intend to prohibit religious institutions from receiving indirect government services, "such as fire and police protection, municipal water and sewage service, sidewalks and streets," but only prohibits expenditures directly benefiting such institutions. The direct beneficiaries of the voucher program are not the schools but those eligible families who are free to select which schools to attend.

The case was originally brought against Governor Mitch Daniels, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, and others, by a group of plaintiffs that included Glenda Ritz. See the footnote on page two for an explanation on the changes in the names of the parties.

The opinion concludes that the Choice Scholarship Program is within the legislature’s power and does not violate the Indiana Constitution. The Court’s decision today affirms the ruling of Marion Superior Court Judge Michael Keele, who granted judgment upholding the legislation and rejected claims of constitutional violation.

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