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State Supreme Court Upholds School Vouchers

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the school voucher program on a 5-0 vote.

The decision allows more than 9,300 students to continue using the vouchers to pay for tuition at private schools.

The court ruling was welcome news for Governor Mike Pence who hopes to expand the program, but was seen as a disappointment for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz.

The Indiana State Teachers Association filed suit to block the law that was approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2011. The lawsuit was tossed out by a Marion County judge, bringing about an appeal to the State Supreme Court.

Those opposed to vouchers argued that the state Constitution requires the legislature to fund a uniform school system, and that the voucher law led to taxpayers subsidizing religious institutions.

The Supreme Court, though, said the Indiana Constitution gives the General Assembly broad discretion to decide how to fulfill that school-funding duty.

The high court also rejected the religious argument, stating in a 22 page decision that tax dollars are primarily going to benefit the recipients of vouchers, rather than the schools they attend.

A bill expanding the program is currently being considered by the state legislature.

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