The Problem

I believe that the problem is twofold.

First, the passage of property tax caps by the Indiana state legislature in 2008 severely limited a public schools ability to fund its operational budget.

Recognizing that the state legislature in the same year, they passed another bill. In this one, the state agreed to fund a larger portion of public school’s operational needs, in order to make up the difference. With the assurance that public schools would not take a financial hit, property tax caps first passed the state legislature and later became part of the state constitution. Since the passage of both of these bills, I would argue that the state legislature has failed to live up to it’s agreed upon responsibilities.

Second, the rise of non-public schools in Indiana.

Former Governor Mitch Daniels pitched the idea of state financed vouchers for students whose neighborhood public schools were failing. With that meager beginning we now have, what I would term as an out of control support in the state legislature for non-public schools. From the Facebook post of Republicans for Public Education Indiana, the largest increases in spending in the House budget are going to vouchers, to the tune of well over $189 million by 2021. Someone remind us of the original intent of the vouchers again??

Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick recently noted that vouchers have evolved into something quite different than the original intent. Fifty-eight percent of voucher students have never attended a public school. “Suburban whites are the ones taking advantage of it the most!” Dr. McCormick also notes a proposal being considered in the 2019 State Legislature would double grants for charter schools for transportation, buildings and technology to $1,000 per student at a cost to the state of Indiana of $77 million over two years. She stated, “Let’s put that money in the pot for everybody.” In another recently published article titled “Vouchers serve the top 20%.” Over 1,300 households that participate in Indiana’s voucher program have incomes over $100,000 according to the 2018-2019 voucher report from the Indiana Department of Education. So much for the argument that the voucher program, created in 2011, exists to help poor children ‘trapped’ in low performing schools.