Bill would allow some school corps. to approve charters
By Matt Mikus firstname.lastname@example.org February 20, 2013 4:26PM
Updated: March 22, 2013 10:30AM
INDIANAPOLIS — School corporations that have a high number of charter schools could get more input on whether a new charter school is established within their boundaries.
State Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, authored Senate Bill 423, which would allow a school corporation with at least 50% of its potential students attending charter schools to approve a new charter school.
“Ninety percent of all charters in the country are done by school boards,” Rogers said, “not authorizers from the outside, but school boards. I’m just trying to bring school boards back into the equation.”
The original bill would have set the number at 25 percent, but Rogers amended the bill in order to find enough support for the bill.
David King Jr., a student at the West Side Leadership Academy in Gary, spoke at the hearing. He felt the bill would help build more communication between communities that have students who go to either traditional public schools or charter schools.
“Education is greater than whether it’s a charter school or a public school,” King said, “This allows a chance to mend the relationship and build a common ground.”
Frank Bush of the Indiana School Board Association said charter schools should have more local control.
“I think charters should be a purview of the school corporation,” Bush said, “That allows them to plan for their programs and the funding for the school year.”
Cheryl Pruitt, Superintendent of Gary School Corp., said school corporations lose their ability to plan financially if charter schools are established during the school year. If students leave, they take public funding with them. Allowing corporations to grant approval will allow for financial stability.
Russ Siemneck of the Indiana Public Charter School Association said the bill would push against the competition between schools to provide a better education.
The bill passed the Education and Career Development Committee with an 8-4 vote. It heads to the Senate floor for a vote.