‘From public schools to private pockets:’ GiaQuinta attempts to protect taxpayers from voucher expansion

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Today, Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) attempted to protect taxpayers from yet another GOP and dark-money-backed voucher expansion. Despite educating only 7% of Indiana K-12 students, 37% of all new money for education would go to privatized Choice Scholarship programming in the Republican budget. GiaQuinta’s amendment failed 61-26, sending the voucher expansion language to the House floor for a final vote. 

“Republicans continue to reroute money from cash-strapped traditional K-12 public schools to private pockets,” GiaQuinta said. “Proponents of vouchers purport the need for parental ‘choice’ despite the program often forcing families to make decisions in a vacuum. This unaccountable, largely unregulated system gives taxpayer dollars to mostly privately-owned schools that have no oversight or guarantees of a quality education, a lesson recently learned by my colleague, Senator Mishler.”

The state’s voucher program was recently rebuked by a surprising critic, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee State Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Mishawaka). GiaQuinta agreed with the Republican lawmaker when he said in a letter published on Feb. 10: “I would advise families looking at voucher schools to be aware that they are on their own at this point and time. They should strongly consider an alternative to the blemished and blatantly flawed procedures of accountability when choosing a school for their child. We need to hold the schools to the same high level of accountability they expect from the students and their parents.”

“Parents do have a choice in this state,” GiaQuinta continued. “And time and time again they choose traditional K-12 public schools. It’s time we start providing these schools – overwhelmingly backed by Hoosier families – with the funding needed to be successful as opposed to spending more money on private schools serving a small minority of Hoosier children.” 

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