Behning: Supporting fairness in school funding

Recently, the Indiana House of Representatives voted in support of my legislation that would require public school corporations to share referendum tax dollars with charter schools enrolling students from that school corporation’s district.

Our tax dollars should follow the student no matter what type of school they attend. Parents whose children attend charter schools still pay property taxes, but those funds currently don’t go toward supporting their children’s education. Requiring these charter schools to receive a proportionate amount of referendum money based on the number of students they enroll from that district could help elevate student performance at all public schools.

Currently, public school corporations can share referendum funding with charter schools, but are not required to. Indianapolis Public Schools has voluntarily shared such revenue with its 31 Innovation Network Charter Schools, which enrolls 10,000 of the district’s 30,000-plus students. The majority of this student body is Black or Latino. And despite receiving $7,000 less in funding per student compared to the district’s public schools, these innovation schools were rated one of the most cost-effective charter school hubs in the country, producing higher student achievement gains than traditional schools, according to research by the University of Arkansas.

My legislation would also eliminate a provision that IPS sell its unused buildings to charter schools for as little as $1. While this regulation was initially made to ensure buildings that were created for educational purposes would continue to serve that purpose, it’s become clear that removing it would allow IPS to sell or repurpose these underutilized facilities and obtain their true market value.

As your state representative, I will continue working hard to improve Indiana’s education system while empowering parents to make the best choices for their children. House Bill 1072 now moves to the Indiana Senate for further consideration. Follow this and other legislation at iga.in.gov.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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