INDIANAPOLIS | Indiana could soon become the nation's leader for use of school vouchers if unprecedented growth in the state's school choice program continues.
The Indiana Department of Education reports more than 20,000 students have signed up for the three-year-old voucher program for the 2013-2014 school year. That's more than double last year's number.
The numbers put Indiana second in the nation for use of the vouchers, which give qualifying families public money to offset tuition costs at private schools. Milwaukee has more than 24,000 students enrolled in its program, while Ohio has just under 16,000, The Indianapolis Star reported.
School choice advocates say they aren't surprised by Indiana's rapid growth, especially in Indianapolis. Marion County accounted for 30 percent of all voucher students statewide last year.
How much money a student receives depends on the family's income and the school district they live in. The maximum is $4,700 for elementary school students.
Experts say they don't expect to see the number of students applying for vouchers to continue to double because there aren't enough spaces available in private schools. A 2010 study indicated that there were about 22,000 vacant seats available in private schools in Indiana.
Delaware County to tighten ordinance on junk vehicles
MUNCIE | Abandoned vehicles could be towed more easily under an ordinance that has received preliminary approval in Delaware County.
Commissioner Larry Bledsoe says the county wants to beef up its junk car ordinance to stop people from moving vehicles that have been tagged before they can be towed.
Bledsoe told The (Muncie) Star Press that owners have seven days to move abandoned vehicles tagged by the county's building inspector. But often the owners move the vehicle to a separate but nearby property before the inspector returns on the eighth day to tow it. That forces the county to restart the clock.
"We're trying to get rid of that game," Bledsoe said.
The new ordinance is modeled after state law. It defines junk or abandoned cars as those left on public property, those on public property that haven't been moved in 24 hours, those that are a risk to pedestrians or other vehicles, those with crucial parts such as engines missing and those that have been impounded and not claimed by their owners.
Fort Wayne sculpture struck by truck will return repaired
FORT WAYNE | A large steel sculpture knocked over and damaged by a truck that barreled across the lawn of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art might return baring few scars from the collision.
The repair of the damaged "Helmholtz" abstract steel sculpture has entered a "scientific phase," with the artist testing pieces to see if heat will return them to their original shape or if they need to be replaced, Charles A. Shepard III, executive director of the museum, told The News-Sentinel.
"The artist seems totally convinced it is going to look as good as new," Shepard said after speaking frequently by phone recently with "Helmholtz" creator Mark di Suvero.
The 8-ton, 26-foot-tall sculpture made largely of steel I-beams was damaged June 16 when police say Colton Adamonis, of Fort Wayne, drove into it.
The museum hopes to get an estimated cost of the repairs in a few weeks. Those costs will be paid by the insurance policies of the driver and the museum, Shepard said.