Surrounded by students at Calvary Christian School, Governor Mike Pence today signed HEA 1003 to expand Indiana's school choice program.
"Our Hoosier students deserve every opportunity to be successful," said Governor Pence. "That includes having the choice to attend the school that works best for them. Thanks to this legislation, Hoosier students and their families now have more educational options available to meet their individual needs. I applaud the General Assembly for their commitment to quality education in Indiana."
HEA 1003 expands the state's choice scholarship program, which allows students who qualify to use a voucher to offset the costs of attending a school of their choice. Students with special needs, siblings of current voucher recipients, and students who receive a scholarship from a Scholarship Granting Organization will now qualify. The new law permits current voucher recipients to continue participating in the program if their family incomes rise above the base income threshold. It also allows children who live in low-performing school districts to receive a voucher without having to attend one year of public school first.
Representative Bob Behning (R) authored the legislation to expand the school choice scholarship program. Representatives Todd Huston(R) and Dale DeVon (R) coauthored it. It was sponsored by Senators Doug Eckerty (R) and Carlin Yoder (R) and cosponsored by Senators Dennis Kruse (R) and Jean Leising (R).
Pence also signed HEA 1334, which creates an additional option for teachers to cost-effectively insure themselves against professional liability by creating a statewide insurance pool that teachers can opt into if they choose.
"Teachers should be able to focus on educating our kids without fear of defending themselves against frivolous lawsuits and incurring expensive legal fees out of their own pockets," said Pence. "HEA 1334 creates a means for teachers to shield themselves against professional liability so they can concentrate on leading their classrooms and helping our children reach their highest potential."
HEA 1334 was authored by Representative Jeffrey Thompson (R) and coauthored by Representative Woody Burton (R). It was sponsored by Senators Dennis Kruse (R) and Phil Boots (R) and cosponsored by Senators Scott Schneider (R) and Brandt Hershman (R).
Both pieces of legislation were part of a package of education reforms the Pence Administration advanced in this session. Also passed were HEA 1005, which addresses the need for remediation and dropout prevention in Indiana, HEA 1348, which will help increase on-time college graduation rates, SEA 465, which created Indiana Regional Works Councils, and SEA 532 which makes available more loans to higher education students.