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Senate Approves Smaller Version Of Voucher Program


The Indiana Senate approved a scaled-back expansion of the state's voucher program Wednesday.

Now the Senate and House have to iron out their differences.

The Senate voted 27-23 for the expansion, with 10 Republicans joining the chamber's 13 Democrats in opposing the measure.

Opponents characterized the Senate plan as a sweeping expansion of the state's young voucher program, but supporters called the proposal modest.

The Senate proposal would allow siblings of students already receiving vouchers to qualify for the program raise the value of each voucher by $200 and eliminate a one-year waiting period in public schools for students who attend "failing" schools.

Democrat Tim Skinner of Terre Haute was quoted as saying "Who is speaking for those 1 million-plus kids in the state public schools? All I hear is: 'The schools are failures. The kids are failures. The teachers are failures.'"

The measure will now head to a conference committee of House and Senate.

The Legislature has just a few weeks left in the 2013 session.