The statehouse is pushing a bill to require school corporations to share the money they receive from taxes with charter schools. If it is signed into law, Marion, Lake, Vanderburgh, and St. Joseph will have to follow the new rules for any taxes received after May 10th.
Monday, the Indiana House Republicans passed the bill in a vote of 64 to 33.
Republicans say that the bill closes the gap between public and charter schools. “Reports indicate that charters receive on average $7,000 less per pupil than traditional public schools,” said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Bob Behning.
Democrats argue that requiring school corporations to share their funds unfairly puts the burden on them. “They will be required to share the assets with any charter school that wants it and that’s got the proper location,” state Rep. Ed Delaney said, “That’s not an option for the school board.”
“The price of your referendum is increased. Of course, that presumably would mean that more money will be required, because we have to share it among more people.”
Charter schools will also have access to grants – which is how they are typically funded – on top of the new changes. As long as the charter school is not a virtual school, the bill allows them access to the Indiana Bond Bank and advances granted by the state board of education for school building construction or educational technology programs.
Democrats also raised the issue of who is in control of the money that goes to charter schools. School corporations have elected school boards, but charter schools do not.
“You’re going to give money to people who are not under your control,” Rep. Delaney said, “This is really a novel idea. This has nothing to do with the understanding we gave our taxpayers twenty years ago.”
Before the bill goes to the governor for approval, the House must vote on an amendment that the Senate passed.