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Another break for private schools

Looking for a new tax deduction as April 17 draws closer? If you're an Indiana parent who home-schools or sends your child to a private or parochial school, you're entitled to one, thanks to the General Assembly.

Included in the school-choice smorgasbord served up last year was a $1,000-per child tax deduction for school expenses. The tax break was a sop to families who were paying private-school tuition and wouldn't qualify for a school voucher. There is no income restriction on the deduction ­– it is available to even the wealthiest Hoosiers, provided they have a child enrolled in private school or they home-school.

"If your kid is currently in a private school you don't qualify for a voucher, and there's a lot of people very concerned about that aspect because there's a fairness issue there," Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Goshen, told a South Bend TV station last April.

Yoder, who collects his second taxpayer-funded paycheck as district director for Congressman Marlin Stutzman, apparently isn't interested in fairness as it relates to the families of public school students. While they can incur hundreds of dollars in costs for textbooks and other materials, they do not qualify for the new tax deduction.

The cost of the deduction won't be known until tax data is collected for the past year, but it is estimated to cost the state $3.7 million in revenue.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at kfrancisco@jg.net.

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