Vic’s Statehouse Notes #375 – Tremendous disappointments for traditional public schools
The final budget unveiled Wednesday carries bad news for public education in Indiana. It adds 6% in the first year and only 2% in the second year for tuition support, low marks in our current inflation.
Sadly, the enormous expansion of private school vouchers, first proposed in the House budget and then totally removed in the Senate budget, was completely restored in the final budget.
Representative Porter’s comment to the media today was that private school voucher expansion of this magnitude is “despicable.”
In the negotiations between the House and the Senate, splitting the difference on this issue didn’t happen. The House version dominated. Senate efforts to pause voucher expansion and maintain the current annual income limit for vouchers at $154,000 for a family of four evaporated.
Here are details:
1) Income eligibility for private and parochial school vouchers has been expanded to families earning up to $220,000 for a family of four.
2) The seven pathways for voucher eligibility have been removed. Any student can get a private school voucher if their family meets the generous income guideline. This will cost an additional half BILLION dollars for taxpayers to pay for private and parochial school tuition for students already going to private schools, schools that taxpayers cannot influence or demand transparency in any way as they can through public school boards.
3) The age of eligibility for vouchers has been reduced from age 5 to age 4. This will fund private preschool programs.
4) The Career Scholarship Accounts (CSA’s), the new effort to privatize career training in place of Career and Technical Education programs, has been funded at $5 million in the first year and $10 million in the second year. Schools will not be eligible for Career & Technical Education funding if a student chooses to use a CSA.
5) Education Savings Accounts for special education students have been funded again at $10 million for each year of the budget.
6) A line item of $160 million each year has been established for curriculum materials and textbooks. For the first time, this amount is to cover payments for all students in traditional public schools, charter schools AND private schools. By paying for textbooks and curricular materials in private schools, taxpayers will be funding religion textbooks and materials. If textbook costs exceed $160 million, schools will have to pay the balance from their general fund.
7) The Charter Schools grant has been raised to $1,400 per student from the current $1,250.
8) Charter schools for the first time have access to property tax funds raised by local operating referenda. They must follow certain prescribed regulations that bring transparency to their spending in order to access this money including passing an annual budget at a public hearing
This is only an introduction to some of the points in the budget
Clearly, this budget sends the message that private schools and privatization are being promoted over traditional public schools. Let your legislators know that you disagree with that basic message and that you want to see priority support for our public schools.
Compare the new budget to the previous eight budgets
Click this link to see the revised chart showing how four budget proposals stack up compared to the eight previous budgets:
1) the Governor’s budget plan announced January 5;
2) the House Republican budget plan announced February 17;
3) the Senate Republican budget plan announced April 13.
4) the final version announced April 26.
The final version of the budget lifts funding 6% in the first year and 2% in the second year of the budget.
In an unexpected development, the “tuition support” funding in the final version shows exactly the same numbers as those in the Governor’s budget proposal announced on January 5: $8.692 Billion in the first year and $8.865 Billion in the second year. (final budget, p.65)
Overall, there are tremendous disappointments for traditional public schools in this budget. Let your legislators know what you think about pushing assistance for private schools and deemphasizing support for public education.
Thank you for your active support to protect public education in Indiana!
Vic Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
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. We need all ICPE members to renew their membership if you have not done so.
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Vic Smith is a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969, serving 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.
Vic received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, he was named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education and received the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.