Military Families Upset Over School Voucher Loophole

Lawmakers Pledge To Amend State Program

Some Hoosiers military families are upset over a loophole that's excluding them from taking part in the state's popular school voucher program.

U.S. Army Sgt. David Greer contacted Call 6 Investigator Rafael Sanchez when he was told that his 11-year-old daughter, Kaylee, wasn't eligible for a voucher to attend Christ the King Catholic School.

The family owns a home in Indianapolis and pays property taxes locally, but they've been living in Georgia, where Greer has been stationed at Fort Gordon.

Indiana's School Choice Voucher program stipulates that a student must attend an Indiana public school for one year before seeking a voucher to attend a parochial or charter school.

"I just find it appalling. I don't think any state military members should be treated as out of state, out of mind," Greer told Sanchez via Skype. "I'm basically being treated as if I'm not an Indiana citizen, as if I am not a Hoosier."

Officials with the Indiana Department of Education told RTV6 that leaving active-duty military families out of the law was an oversight.

Currently, the law does not allow for a waiver or an appeals process. Lawmakers would have to make any change.

"We would support members of the Legislature seeking to allow military families access to the program sooner rather than later," said Alex Damron, an IDOE spokesman.

Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, the chairman of the House Education Committee, told RTV6 he intends to introduce a bill to close the voucher loophole.

"These people have enlisted and joined the armed services, deployed all over the world," he said. "As long as are paying taxes, they should have the availability of the services the state makes available."

The state's voucher program is in its second year. Education officials said 3,000 students took part last year.

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