NEWS: Hundreds of Students Use Vouchers in Northwest Indiana

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

Nearly 3,800 students across Indiana have taken advantage of the school vouchers as of September, state officials said.

Indiana’s new voucher program gives Hoosier families the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice. A voucher, or “Choice Scholarship,” is a state payment that qualifying families can use to offset tuition at participating schools.

A spokesman for the Indiana Department of Education said 114 students from Gary Community School Corp. used vouchers, 105 from the School City of Hammond, 85 from the School City of East Chicago, 11 from Portage Township Schools and 3 from the Duneland School Corp. Complete figures will be released sometime this month, including geographic information.

An official with the Catholic Diocese of Gary called the voucher program successful; the Diocese has gained more than 400 students overall, including those from Lake, Porter, Starke and LaPorte counties.

Bishop Noll Institute Assistant Principal Drew Trost said 88 students applied to Noll through the voucher program. Of those, 58 met the school’s admissions criteria and were accepted, but only 40 of them enrolled in the Catholic high school.

“Some of them were sophomores, juniors and seniors,” Trost said. “That’s a tough decision to leave their school. Those kids had good grades and were well-connected in their current school. For a student to drop everything and leave their school is a difficult decision, and some didn’t want to make the switch.”

Amy Mays, administrative assistant with the Lutheran Schools of Indiana, said as of last month, 178 students enrolled in Lutheran schools across the state as a result of the vouchers.

That figure includes 12 students in Northwest Indiana. Mays said two new students transferred to Trinity Lutheran School in Crown Point while 10 transferred to Trinity Lutheran in Hobart. Another three enrolled in St. John Lutheran School in LaPorte.

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