More than eight thousand Indiana public school students have been awarded vouchers allowing them to use public funds to attend private schools this academic year.

That’s more than double the number awarded last year.

Adam Baker with the Indiana Department of Education says the program approved by the Republican-led General Assembly in 2011 allows for 15,ooo vouchers this year.

“Next year, there’s actually no cap on the number of vouchers available, so we’re hoping that we continue to see this number rise year by year,” he said.

The Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the voucher law by the state teachers’ union, which argues that it violates the separation of church and state because many of the private schools in the program are religious-affiliated.

The law also has prompted some struggling Indiana public school districts worried about losing funding to launch marketing campaigns aimed at persuading parents not to move their children to private schools.