The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) Board of Trustees signed a resolution that opposes the passage and signing of House Bill (HB) 1005, Senate Bill (SB) 412, and SB 413, or any other bill expanding vouchers and/or creating Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Specifically, the Indiana General Assembly is reviewing HB 1005 that establishes Education Savings Accounts and removes over $220M in public education funds, therefore, reducing funds that could be used for teachers’ salaries. These school choice proposals being considered will have an immediate and profound negative impact on public schools.
The cost of ESAs is exclusively taken from Indiana’s school tuition support fund. If these bills are passed, public schools will receive less than one-third of Governor Holcomb’s increase in funding for public schools for 2022, and $0 in 2023 if his recommended tuition support increases two and one percent for those fiscal years, respectively. HB 1005 will cost more than $200M over the next two years, consuming most of the $227M increase in education funding proposed by the Governor.
The MVCSC Board of Trustees supports:
- Public funds should be invested in improving the schools designed to serve all children to aid in improving Indiana public school teachers’ salaries, as recommended by the Governor’s Teacher Compensation Commission in its report on December 14, 2020.
- Public schools are overseen by locally elected citizens and required to operate in an open, transparent way with all expenditures and decisions. Non-public schools are not held to the same accountability that public schools are required to provide for their public funds; all schools that receive public funds should be held to the same standard.
- Indiana already has school choice in the form of open enrollment, virtual online schools and the Choice Scholarship program. In the fall of 2019, MVCSC lost over $353K to the Choice Scholarship Program; the program should not be expanded and receive additional funds that are allocated to public schools.
- Legislators should reduce the over-regulation of state and federal bureaucracy that hinders the ability of local schools to innovate and be responsive to parent and community needs.
MVCSC encourages the community to join in expressing to your legislators your opposition to HB 1005, SB 412, and SB 413, or any other bill expanding vouchers or creating ESA’s into law. If this bill passes, MVCSC will be forced to provide less funds for teachers’ salary increases. IN has fallen to 39th in the country for per-pupil spending, contributing to the lowest teacher salary growth in the nation over the past two decades, according to the Governor’s teacher pay commission.
- Public funds should fund public schools that are open to all children; this is a state constitutional duty. Urge your legislators to vote no on voucher expansion in Indiana.
- Lawmakers should build on the good budget for public education passed in 2019 and continue to address the teacher pay gap and fund tuition support that stays with or exceeds inflation.
- Research professors at University of Notre Dame and University of Kentucky proved that Indiana’s voucher program has not improved student achievement.
- Private schools and home schools lack financial accountability and oversight. All entities that receive public school funding should play by the same set of rules and regulations.
- Given the fiscal constraints caused by the pandemic, it is the worst time to create a new entitlement program that takes funds away from public schools.
- Indiana ranked 22nd in per-pupil K-12 spending in 2004 but has since fallen to 39th, contributing to the lowest teacher salary growth in the nation over the past two decades.
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