DeLaney issues statement on proposed voucher expansion

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INDIANAPOLIS – This week the Indiana House will vote on their budget proposal, House Bill 1001. Ways and Means Committee member Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) issued the following statement on the school funding strategy put forward by Republicans as part of the proposal:

“The education spending proposed in this budget is blind to the needs of our schools, institutions we have built over decades. In such times as these we cannot afford to continue chasing partisan platform priorities at the expense of the very real struggles Hoosier students and their schools are facing.

“The pandemic has affected all students but especially those already living in or at risk of poverty. Helping these Hoosiers must be our priority in crafting this budget if we truly want to recover. Child poverty rates rose nationwide during the pandemic. We saw a 15% increase in households receiving food stamps right here in Indiana. Yet Republicans have instead focused on expanding giving a tuition cut to those already enrolled in voucher schools. This diverts money to schools and parents who already exercised their 'choice' while cutting support for poor families.

“It is no secret that when it comes to education in Indiana, our colleagues across the aisle have built their platform around so-called 'School Choice.' They have built the largest voucher program in the nation and want to increase it by one-third. All this is at the expense of our public schools and the students and families who most need support.

“My question to my colleagues across the aisle is this – Why now? Why this expansion in the middle of a pandemic? Much of the money will be going to families who have already chosen the voucher program. Meanwhile, the public schools and their students who need more help are left empty-handed.

“This conversation is not over. I will be filing amendments to ensure funds are directed to those who need them most. I hope the members of the General Assembly will be able to set aside their campaign slogans and put our families first.”

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