Dear Friends,

Weather Alert: Join in on the Public Education Zoom webinar tomorrow Feb. 15th at 3PM!

A small President’s Day event had been planned in the Statehouse to meet Covid guidelines, but that has been changed to a virtual Zoom/phone event due to the winter storm forecast.

Here’s how to join in at 3pm on Zoom or by phone:

Join us tomorrow for a Zoom webinar
Monday, Feb. 15 at 3 p.m.

Our speakers are:

· Dr. Suellen Reed Goddard, former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction
· Dountonia Batts, ICPE
· Melanie Wright, Indiana AFT
· Chris Lagoni, Indiana Small & Rural Schools Association
· Joel Hand, ICPE Lobbyist
· Jenny Smithson, ICASE
· Andrea Jain, parent
· Carla Schmid, parent
· Carissa Dollar, Indiana PTA

Here’s how to join us:

Click the link below to join the webinar:

Passcode: 323675

If you’re joining by phone only, call 312 626 6799 and use
Webinar ID: 813 7894 3168
Passcode: 323675

Speakers will be addressing three stories where your messages to legislators can make a difference:

STORY #1 – House Bill 1005

New home school funding and expanded voucher payments will divert $66 million from K-12 public schools.

The House Ways and Means Committee passed House Bill 1005 Tuesday allowing parents of eligible students to run their home school with the approximately $7000 that now currently goes to schools.

No restrictions on parents are included in the bill.

· Parents in prison – no restriction.
· Parents convicted of neglect – no restriction.
· Parents convicted of child abuse – no restriction.
· Parents convicted of child pornography – no restriction.

“Eligible students” are defined in the bill: special education, active military and foster students. The bill has no definition of eligible parents.

Parents of these students can receive an Education Scholarship Account (ESA) worth 90% of the money given to students in the school district where they live – approximately $7000. The extra money available for special education students (from $500 to $9156) can also be claimed by the parent.

HB 1005 sets a low standard to get this money from a new online portal which will cost $5 million for the software.

The parent “must agree that” the parent “will use part of the money” for the “student’s study in the subject of reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, or science” or the student’s “individualized education program”.

That’s it. Does the General Assembly really want to set a standard this low?

Will the parents be responsible with the money intended to educate their child?

Can the parents be trusted?

Representative DeLaney offered an amendment to delete the Education Scholarship Accounts section of the bill. His amendment died in a party line vote when the supermajority Republicans voted to keep ESA’s in the bill.

The remainder of the bill raises voucher payments to private school parents by $66 million over the two year budget. In a television clip, Chairman Tim Brown justified more money for vouchers by saying, “Parents are demanding more choices.”

Are they? Parents who support community public schools need to let him and other House members know that diverting money to private schools hurts the 93% of our Hoosier students who attend public schools.

House Bill 1005 now goes to the House floor for amendments and then for a final vote. Let any and all House members know you disagree with starting unsupervised taxpayer funded home schools and giving $66 million to high income private school parents for vouchers.

STORY #2 – The Senate Education Committee has passed two bills that mimic House Bill 1005.

The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday passed Senate Bill 412 that creates Education Scholarship Accounts exactly like HB 1005 and Senate Bill 413 that lifts voucher payments to private school parents in a similar way to HB 1005.

SB 412 would cost $19 million over the two-year budget, according to the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency.

SB 413 would cost $38 million over the two-year budget, according to LSA. Together, the two total $57 million.

Both bills passed 9-4 following party lines, with the supermajority Republicans pushing it through.

Both bills now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Let your Senator or all Senators know that you strongly oppose these two bills.

STORY #3 – The newly announced House budget gives $65 million less to K-12 than did the Governor’s budget.

The House Budget was unveiled on Thursday. New funding for K-12 public schools tuition support over two years is $378 million, but the text of House Bill 1005 makes clear that the $66 million cost of HB 1005 for private and home schools would come from the same tuition support budget.

When new funding in the House budget ($378 million) is reduced by the cost of HB 1005 ($66 million) the remainder is $312 million, which is $65 million less than the Governor’s budget recommended for K-12 tuition support ($377 million) on January 13th.

House members need to do better for K-12 public education students. Giving a windfall to private school and home school parents takes away needed funding to pay our public school teachers.

Tell your Representative or all Representatives to reduce the private school voucher money and give more help to K-12 public schools.

Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana! 

Best wishes,

 Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries.  The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis.  Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma! 

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools.  We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts.  As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is representing ICPE extremely well in the extraordinary 2021 budget session.  We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations.  We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education!  Please pass the word!   

Go to for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education.  Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools.  Thanks for asking!  Here is a brief bio:

 I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969.  I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor.   I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009.  I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.  In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana.  In April of 2018, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.


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