Indianas new voucher law goes before a judge in Indianapolis this week, leaving precious little time for a ruling before school starts on whether to stop implementation of the law.
The judge will consider whether those trying to stop the law are likely to prevail and whether they will suffer irreparable harm if the law isnt stopped, at least temporarily.
The ruling will focus on two areas of the Indiana Constitution:
Whether the tax-funded vouchers unconstitutionally finance religious institutions or, allowably, finance parental choice.
Whether the substantial state aid for private schools interferes with the constitutional mandate to provide a general and uniform system of Common Schools.
Arguments on the second point may well be similar to the many arguments over the years regarding whether the two parts of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution mean the right to bear arms is a collective right only (for a militia) or an individual right. The common schools language (in Article 8, Section 1) also requires the state to encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual, scientific, and agricultural improvement.
Advocates will argue that vouchers are a suitable means to do so, while opponents will argue that the language cannot be separated from the requirement for common public schools.
Back to school
It might seem early, but classes begin Tuesday for students at the Imagine on Broadway charter school and on Thursday for students in the Northwest Allen County Schools district and at the Timothy L. Johnson Academy.
School begins Aug. 15 for students in Southwest Allen County Schools and Aug. 17 for East Allen County Schools and Imagine MASTer Academy.
The fall semester begins Aug. 22 at Fort Wayne Community Schools, IPFW and Ivy Tech.
Be cautious when driving – the first days of school bring additional traffic and children waiting along roads at bus stops.
City Council – again
The city campaign finance proposal is turning into the issue that will not go away – and the City Council still hasnt even begun debate on its merits.
But the lack of debate is for good reason – the council does not have the power to adopt a law that overrides the state law on this issue.
A 1983 Indiana attorney generals opinion says so, and so does a recent opinion from both the Democratic and Republican attorneys for the Indiana Election Board. Attorney General Greg Zoeller weighed in last week, also ruling the proposal is improper, though council members who want to regulate campaign finance dont seem to care what Zoeller says.
This ordinance is a waste of time.
Some council members may agree with John Shoaff, who bemoans the idea that the city cannot regulate its own elections.
But the way to change that is for cities across the state to engage their citizens in pushing the General Assembly to give them greater home rule, not to push through an ordinance sure to generate an expensive legal fight the city will lose.
The council meets Tuesday. Stay tuned.
The pace of interim committee work is picking up at the General Assembly.
A study committee on driver education meets today to discuss changing the age for a application for drivers license to 17 for teens who have not taken a driver education course. Committee members also will review statistics on violations by drivers 18 and younger.
The Commission on Mental Health and Addiction meets Tuesday and is scheduled to discuss issues regarding Clubhouse-model programs, the model used by Fort Waynes Carriage House. State mental health officials had discontinued Medicaid reimbursements for Clubhouse services, citing a change in federal regulations. Other states, however, have continued to support the effective Clubhouse model.
Meetings are broadcast over the Internet at http://media.ihets.org/senate