INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Officials have approved the creation of Indiana's first virtual private schools, making them eligible to participate in the state's private school voucher program.

The Indiana State Board of Education voted Wednesday in favor of giving two-year probationary accreditation to online school plans for GEO Focus Academy and FaithPrep.

GEO Focus Academy will be the fifth Indiana school affiliated with the GEO Foundation, which now operates charter schools in Gary and Indianapolis.

GEO Foundation Kevin Teasley told The Indianapolis Star that many parents want to keep their children in virtual school programs after their experience over the past year. GEO is planning for 700 students in K-12 when it starts the virtual program and aims to expand to 1,000 students.

FaithPrep plans to operate as a sister school to Columbus Christian School, an existing private school operating in Columbus. FaithPrep intends to have 500 students in grades K-12 upon opening, with plans to grow to 2,500 students over the next five years.

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