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St. Joseph Catholic School in Decatur will participate in the new statewide voucher program recently signed into law by Governor Mitch Daniels, school officials announced Monday.
In compliance with the new School Scholarship Act, St. Joseph plans to open its doors to a greater number of families and provide enhanced educational opportunities to local parents and students, St. Joe Principal Karla Hormann said in a press release.
St. Joseph Catholic School is currently accepting vouchers from qualifying families for the 2011-12 school year. Children in grades 2 - 12 who attended a public school for the prior two semesters are eligible to apply.
Students qualifying for the federal free-and-reduced price lunch program can receive a voucher for up to 90 percent of the state tuition amount for the sending school district. Children from families who earn up to 150 percent of the program eligibility threshhold — around $60,000 for a family of four — are eligible for a voucher worth up to 50 percent of the tuition amount, school officials said.
Hormann said that in addition to allowing for vouchers, the new law also expanded the existing Indiana Scholarship Tax Credit Program, which provides eligible lower-income families with scholarships from certified Scholarship Granting Organizations to attend the school of their choice. Individuals and corporations can claim a 50 percent tax credit for contributions to approved SGOs.
The new law also allows families with children who are enrolled in a private school to claim a $1,000 tax deduction per child for approved educational expenses such as tuition or textbooks.
Hormann said the school is excited to participate in the voucher program.
"As the 'first educators' of their children, parents will be able to select any school that can meet their children’s needs," she said. "We are hopeful that some will select Catholic schools and join us in our mission to assist students in their faith and educational growth. We believe that school choice will benefit children, and we look forward to working with new students and their families during the 2011-12 school year."
Interested families should contact the school office directly by calling 724-2765 for assistance with the application process. St. Joseph School also plans to hold meetings that will help parents to learn more about the school.