State spending for Indiana’s school voucher program grew to $153 million for the 2017-18 academic year to help more than 35,000 students attend private schools.

The 7-year-old program, known as school choice, allows students to use state money to pay for tuition at non-public schools.

A recent Indiana Department of Education report shows that this year marks a record high for the number of students using vouchers who have never attended an Indiana public school. Costs to Indiana public schools also continue to rise.

Student participation in the voucher program has grown by 3.4 percent this year. But participation growth has slowed over the past two years after a 12 percent increase in 2015.
A department spokesperson says the agency doesn’t keep information to help identify why growth has slowed.