NEWS: Gov. Daniels Expects Indiana Voucher Law to Survive Challenge

From The Evansville Courier & Press:

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mitch Daniels said he’s certain a Marion Superior Court judge will uphold the nation’s broadest state voucher law after a hearing today, despite a challenge from the state’s largest teachers’ union.

Daniels and Tony Bennett, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, said the law passed by the Indiana General Assembly in April will pass constitutional muster.

“We’re completely confident in the outcome,” Daniels said.

The Indiana State Teachers Association challenge the program because it takes money away from public schools. The group also said the law is unconstitutional because it uses tax money to pay for religious education.

The school voucher program gives low-income families the ability to send their children to private schools that once were too costly for them to consider. Indiana’s voucher program is the most comprehensive across the nation because in three years, there will be no limits on how many vouchers the state will fund.

Daniels said three constitutional scholars looked at the bill before and after it was drafted to make sure it was sound.

“We weren’t about to go through the difficulty of creating this new freedom for families only to have some court invalidate it,” Daniels said.

Both Daniels and Bennett said a challenge to this program was highly anticipated.

“Frankly we expected it — we actually looked forward to it — because we believe this is an opportunity to illustrate that, one, this law is constitutional and, two, this law is in the best interest of Indiana children and Indiana families, especially low income families,” Bennett said.

Bennett said there have been challenges to school voucher programs across the nation and these challenges are “part of the process” of putting a voucher program into state education.

More than 2,200 students have already been accepted into the school voucher program for this school year.

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