Letter: Too much money spent on private-school vouchers

From: Jeff Maudlin


On Sept. 13, I sent State Rep. Milo Smith an email and asked him to explain his 2016 F grade voting record from The Indiana Coalition for Public Education on important public education bills. The ICPE is a bi-partisan organization composed of school superintendents, community members and educators. The F grade was based on votes on five bills important to public education and parents. Three of the five bills promoted the expansion of voucher expenditures for charter and private schools. I did receive an auto reply on Sept. 10 stating, “My staff and I will review your comments and respond to you as soon as possible.”

I oppose charter schools and vouchers. According to the ICPE, citing state financial reports, $131 million is now diverted from public schools to private and charter schools annually. This results in a cost to taxpayers of $53 million each year, according to state financial reports. Additionally, the ICPE Report Card asserts that despite the original premise for Indiana’s voucher program to let families leave low-performing schools, over half of all vouchers (52 percent) now go to students who never attended public schools and have always attended private schools, according to the ICPE.

This fact is the basis for the extra fiscal costs. In Bartholomew County, we witnessed this waste of taxpayer money first hand with the closing of the International Charter School located in Columbus a few years ago. My personal opinion is that taxpayer dollars going to religious-based schools is a violation of our state Constitution, no matter what delivery method is used.

Since Milo Smith has not explained to me his lack of support for Indiana public schools, I urge voters to vote for long-time community leader Bob Pitman for state representative for District 59, who who has pledged his support for Indiana’s public schools.