INDIANAPOLIS | Education in Indiana likely will never be the same.

The Republican-controlled Indiana House gave final approval Wednesday to legislation permitting state money be used for tuition at private schools and a separate bill likely to lead to the opening of more charter schools in the state.

Both House Bill 1003 and House Bill 1002 now go to Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels who promoted both measures and is expected to sign them into law.

The school voucher proposal was approved 55-43. If enacted, it will be the most generous voucher program in the nation, providing tuition money for families earning up to $61,000 a year and allowing any parent with a child in private school a $1,000 per child income deduction on state income taxes.

Under the plan, a family of four earning less than $41,000 a year would be entitled to a $4,500 voucher for a student in grades 1-8 and $4,964 for a high school student. A family of four earning between $41,000 and $61,000 could receive up to $2,758 per student in any grade.

To be eligible, a student must have attended at least one year of public school before receiving a private school voucher. The number of available vouchers would be capped at 7,500 statewide for the 2012-13 school year and 15,000 the year after.

State Rep. Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, questioned the constitutionality of the proposal and said the state likely will be embroiled in a lawsuit for years before a voucher is ever issued.

The Indiana Constitution specifically states, "No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

State Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, said the voucher program will help Hoosier children receive the best education possible.

In a separate 61-37 vote Wednesday, the House agreed with changes made by the Republican-controlled Senate to a charter school expansion program.

House Bill 1002 makes most Indiana private colleges eligible to sponsor charter schools, increases funding for online virtual charter schools and makes it easier for charter schools to take over unused buildings owned by a traditional public school.

Also, 90 percent of charter school teachers would be required to be licensed by the state.

State funding for both the voucher and charter programs would be paid for by tax dollars that otherwise would go to traditional public schools.

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