GARY | Nearly 200 students, teachers and parents from Ambassador Christian Academy in Gary will participate in a rally supporting school vouchers at the Indiana statehouse Monday sponsored by School Choice Indiana.
Ambassador Principal Vercena Stewart said the students will sing and perform as part of the "Ed Reform Rocks" rally. The youngsters will join Gov. Mike Pence and former Indiana Pacer Jalen Rose to celebrate school choice.
Indiana passed its school voucher law in 2011. School vouchers allow a student to use state dollars — normally distributed only to public schools — to attend a private school of his or her choice.
Legislation proposed during the 2013 session would make siblings of current participants also eligible for vouchers, tweaking a rule that required students to first attend a public school to receive state money for private school. The legislation also would allow kindergarten students into the voucher program.
This is the second year for the voucher program, and more than 9,100 students are using vouchers across the state. Ambassador Christian Academy has 151 students using vouchers, the highest number in the state of students at a single school.
Ambassador, founded by Embassies of Christ Church in Gary, has an enrollment of 321 students from 18 months old to those in eighth grade. The school intends to add ninth grade in the fall and eventually go up to 12th grade.
Stewart said the school will receive a little more than $600,000 in funding for its voucher students.
"We are strong proponents of early childhood education," Stewart said. "Our goal is to serve children from the cradle to college. We're very excited about the number of voucher children in our school. They came in with a (learning) deficit, and we are helping them to at least get to grade level and beyond."