Voucher supporters, foes disagree on financial impact

Democrat Glenda Ritz smiles on the steps of the old St. Joseph County Courthouse in downtown South Bend on Friday, June 5, 2015. (Krystal Vivian/95.3 MNC)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Proponents and opponents disagree over the financial impact of the Indiana school voucher program that grew by 12 percent to about 32,600 students this past school year.

A report released Monday by the Indiana Department of Education says the program ran a $53 million deficit in the past year, up from $40 million a year earlier. The department is run Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a voucher opponent.

School choice advocates say the program saves taxpayers money because vouchers provide at most 90 percent of the funding a traditional public school would receive for each student.

The Education Department bases its deficit calculation on the assumption that any voucher student who never attended public school would have otherwise paid to attend private school, therefore creating no cost to taxpayers.

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