New loan program for Indiana charter schools draws scrutiny

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A provision included in the new state budget that gives charter schools access to $50 million in low-interest state loans is drawing concerns from a top lawmaker.

Charter school officials say they need the loan program to be on more equal footing with traditional public schools. But Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley notes that many charters have significant debt that they can’t retire.

The Indianapolis Star reports that the program that takes effect July 1 gives charter schools access to loans from the common school fund at a rate of 1 percent.

Only charters that receive an A, B or C under the state’s A-F school grading system are eligible for loans. The program will be administered by the State Board of Education.

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