NEWS: Both Sides Confident After Hearing on School Choice Lawsuit

From The Journal & Courier:

Marion County judge Michael Keele heard arguments for more than an hour this morning in the lawsuit filed by a group of teachers and religious leaders challenging the program which provides tax-funded, income-based scholarships for students to attend private schools.

Their lawsuit backed by the Indiana State Teachers Association claims the vouchers violate the state constitution by providing public money to religious institutions and undermining public education by giving public money to private schools.

The state attorney general’s office argues that the money going to private schools come from parents, not the state.

Lafayette School Corp. Superintendent Ed Eiler and board member Robert Stwalley both attended the hearing during which Stwalley said there were “no surprises.”

Eiler and Stwalley are among the 12 plaintiffs in the suit, which also include fellow LSC educators Karen Combs, director of elementary education, and Debbie Patterson, principal of Glen Acres Elementary School.

“I think we have a very good case and I think the other side thinks they do too,” Stwalley said. “That’s what makes the justice system interesting.”

With the start of school swiftly approaching, Stwalley said he appreciated Keele’s sensitivity to the timeliness of the debate.

“I think the most impressive part of the proceeding was the attention the judge is going to give the whole thing,” Stwalley said. “Both sides and the judge agreed there is a very time critical aspect.”

Both sides have until Friday afternoon to finalize their arguments, Stwalley said, with a decision to be expected early next week.

Read more here: http://www.jconline.com/article/20110811/NEWS04/110811013/Both-sides-confident-after-hearing-school-choice-lawsuit-update