INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday, State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) offered an amendment to the budget. His amendment would bar private schools receiving state voucher funds from discriminating against their students, staff, and teachers. Sen. Ford’s amendment failed with a vote of 10-39.

“Schools should not be able to use taxpayer money to fund discrimination,” Sen. Ford said. “If a private school chooses to receive state voucher funds, then the legislature has the authority to make sure these funds are used properly.”

Sen. Ford originally filed Senate Bill (SB) 344 this session to curb the rising instances of private schools discriminating against their students, teachers or staff, but this proposal was not given a hearing. In the past year, two counselors at Indianapolis’ Roncalli High School found their jobs targeted because of their same sex marriages, even though such marriages are legal in the United States. Roncalli High School received over $1.5 million last year in state voucher funds.

“We have already seen a state-funded private school right here in Indianapolis discriminate against its staff because of their sexual orientation,” Sen. Ford said. “The Republican budget proposal diverts even more funding from public schools to private school vouchers. If we are going to give more state money to private schools, then we have the responsibility to make sure those funds aren’t used to discriminate against Hoosiers.

“By voting this amendment down, the Republican supermajority showed us that they don’t mind using your tax dollars to promote hatred and discrimination in our state.”