Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The McCormick Plan? - or is it Bennett Plan 2.0?

Jennifer McCormick finally rolled out her “Lesson Plan for Indiana” on September 21.  That plan gives little insight into actual practice, yet draws more comparisons to her GOP mentor, Tony Bennett’s failed and flawed policies and practices.  McCormick said she did back many of the initiatives put in place by Indiana’s Republican-led legislature over the past eight years, such as tougher requirements for teacher evaluations and her “Lesson Plan” seems to be following a political agenda that closely aligns with the former Republican Superintendent, who championed controversial reforms such as the adoption of the Common Core academic standards and state-takeover of chronically failing schools.  McCormick has also previously stated her support for school choice, charters and vouchers.

Dr. McCormick announced her “Lesson Plan for Indiana” at the headquarters of Hoosiers for Quality Education.  Remember, we did a post about H4QE in February of 2015. 

 Who Are These Hoosiers For Quality Education

Big Education players for H4QE are veterans of the Daniels and Bennett administrations with strong ties to the education reform movement.

Tony Bennett, Senior Advisor and Consultant
As recently as July 2014, H4QE told potential donors that Bennett was its senior policy advisor. At a February 2 Senate committee hearing, H4QE’s lobbyist testified that Bennett works as its consultant.

Fred Klipsch, Chairman
Klipsch, who after a long career in business and Republican Party politics, started his involvement in education reform with the Educational Choice Charitable Trust by granting scholarships for private schools. This evolved into forming School Choice Indiana, which according to Klipsch, “literally drafted the education reform laws in 2011”. Klipsch served on Gov. Pence’s transition team upon being elected governor and continues to serve as his campaign treasurer.

Tosha Salyers, Director of Communications
Salyers was the director of outreach in the Bennett administration and worked for the corporate education reform group StudentsFirst, before joining H4QE as their spokesperson. StudentsFirst pulled operations out of Indiana in the summer of 2014.

Jennifer McCormick appears to be rolling around in corporate education reform money, the same money that funded Tony Bennett’s campaigns.  A peek at McCormick’s most recent campaign finance report reveals that 90 percent of her campaign contributions have come from donors of former Superintendent Tony Bennett.  As of August, McCormick’s campaign raised $121,478, of which $109,400 came directly from donors to Bennett’s campaign.

The Hoosiers for Quality Education PAC’s total to McCormick, so far, is at $30,000.

Fred Klipsch, donated $10,000 to McCormick at the end of May.

McCormick has also received $75,000 recently from the Tony Bennett grade changing  scandal charter school’s Christel DeHaan.

David Harris, from the Mind Trust, gave McCormick $250

Deborah Daniels, Mitch’s sister, also gave $250

Former  Indiana State Board of Education member Daniel Elsener has given $1,000 so far.

Charter honcho John Bryan has donated $2,500 so far.

These are only a few prominent reformer contributions.  More from other corporate school reform folks have come in throughout the campaign.

“We preach no bullying to the students and I will practice that,” McCormick said in her January campaign announcement. “I will not run a negative campaign.”

However, appearing negative enough to Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s supporters, McCormick announced her run at the Indiana Statehouse surrounded by representatives of interest groups that supported Ritz’s predecessor, Tony Bennett, or who have been critical of Ritz: Stand For Children, the Institute for Quality Education and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Also on hand, in the crowd were several former staff members from Bennett’s education department team.  McCormick may not have mentioned Bennett, but  McCormick and Bennett share more than just donors who support corporate education “reform", however. The two have been linked since Bennett was state superintendent. Then Superintendent, Bennett cited McCormick's work in Yorktown in his final “state of education” address, given just months before he was defeated by Ritz in the 2012 election.

“Yorktown Schools, led by Superintendent Jennifer McCormick and a host of ambitious principals and teachers, have revamped their entire K-12 model based on providing every student a head start on college with a rich selection of Advanced Placement courses,” Bennett said in that speech. “In grade 3, Yorktown students begin an advanced curriculum designed to prepare them for college-level coursework as early as middle school. Yorktown has become one of Indiana’s AP leaders, and their model for college preparation has become an example for forward thinking districts around the state.”

It appears as though voters will ultimately be deciding whether to return to the Tony Bennett era of failed and flawed reforms or give Glenda Ritz another term, with a new Governor, this November.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sure Ed, You Are Still "Working On It"

Thank you Representative Ed Soliday, for picking up the phone and clarifying your position on the SSCA charter app specifically and for clarifying your position on charter schools in general.

Hoosier Voices discovered today that Valparaiso community advocates were able to make contact with Rep. Ed Soliday. These advocates stated that they had tried to talk with Soliday by phone and email since they first heard of the SSCA charter school hearing, but had not received a response from the Representative until they called his office in Indy today and spoke with his office assistant Luke.

From our sources in Valpo:

Two weeks after the SSCA charter school matter became public and two weeks after members of our group reached out to Rep. Soliday's office for support, we finally heard from Soliday's through his legislative assisant Luke Wilson. Actually, Luke finally picked up the phone to take our call.
After much stammering we were informed that Rep. Soliday is "still working on a statement" and will respond to "individual constituents through direct mail" i.e. campaign literature.
So in short, while constituents from both parties organized, stood up and spoke out against the SSCA charter, our state represntative DID NOTHING.
Thanks Rep. Ed Soliday for being such a "good friend" of public education and Valpo Schools."

Hoosier Voices has not received a statement from Sen. Ed Charbonneau at the time this published.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

50 Days To Come Together

I am writing this blog post for one purpose, to wake up all who support a common end goal to COME TOGETHER for the good of the cause and make it happen.  We have seen, through our #StandUpForPublicEducation campaign, that a common goal can be reached when in fighting and petty differences are put aside to reach the desired outcome.  I observed many community leaders, over the past weeks, taking a stand to defeat a proposed charter in Porter County.  There are forces across Indiana, similar to those in the Porter County area, who share common goals but have differing opinions on the means to reach the desired outcome.

In 2012 I started Hoosier Voices as a platform to promote PUBLIC education and those who support our PUBLIC schools and elected officials and candidates who feel the same.  Often times from the beginning of Hoosier Voices to now, I have seen forces with the same goal become distracted from reaching the goal because of petty arguments and differences in means to reach the same goal.  Once forces were joined, the grassroots campaigns became nearly unstoppable.  I saw this again this past week with the defeat and ultimate SSCA charter application withdrawal.  This is the direction we need to find across the state of Indiana.

We have 50 days to find our common ground once again, set our true outcome goals, set aside the petty differences and in fighting, and Stand Up For Public Education once and for all.  It is time all the collective forces across the state come together, as was done in 2012 for Glenda Ritz, to defeat all who stand in line to further destroy our PUBLIC schools through their reform minded legislation, charter school applications, false statements about our Department of Education, lack of support of educators, financial robbery for private benefit, and ill devised methods to discriminate against our neediest children.

Please, find the common ground necessary to stop the squabbling.  Stand up WITH one another and SUPPORT the ultimate goal of PUBLIC EDUCATION across the state.  Don't air your "dirty laundry" publicly to give others fuel to undermine the purpose we all seed to achieve in the end.  50 days is not much time to promote, support, and campaign to reach PUBLIC EDUCATION victories across the state.  Let us vow, today, to stand together to reach our common goals and show that we all #StandUpForPublicEducation.

Friday, September 16, 2016

#RememberInNovember: The Fab 5 State Legislators Bent On Destroying Public Schools, One 'A' District At A Time

Bosma, Charbonneau, Kruse, Soliday, and Behning:

The Fab 5 that made the Indiana charter school mess by authorizing Grace College

Written By: Hoosier Voices For Public Education Blogger

In 2002, the State of Indiana adopted the policy that established the charter school system. It wasn't until former Governor Mitch Daniels' second term of office that charter school legislation burgeoned, in great part due to the financial and political support of wealthy individuals like the Koch brothers, Klipsch, and the Waltons in addition the American Legislative Exchange Council PAC (aka: ALEC).

The initial intended purpose of the 2002 legislation was to address educational need in districts that were struggling with overall academic performance and graduation rates. Slow to grow over the course of those initial 6 years, the Daniels administration and Tony Bennett took it upon themselves to champion the so-called 'school reform' ideology which amped into high gear during the 2010 and 2011 legislative sessions with Indiana becoming known to have one of the most expansive school reform agendas administered into public policy in our country.

In the 'real' reality of today's educational climate, we have strayed significantly from the original intent and purpose of that 2002 charter authorizing legislation, as evidenced most recently through the South Shore Classical Academy (SSCA) charter school application for authorization through Grace College. SSCA purports to provide differentiated instruction not currently available in the local public schools by providing the Michigan based Hillsdale College model of "Classical Education". Not only does the evangelical private Christian school Grace College stand to financial gain from this charter, so does Hillsdale College which was established by Freewill Baptists and in its Mission touts Hillsdale students as being "Grateful to God for Inestimable Blessings".

This leads me to question "how did we ever get here"?  How did we get to the point where a charter school would need to situate itself strategically amongst 3 'A' ranked public schools with diverse school populations, excellent graduation rates, active and engaged parents and community, who have the will and disposition to 'self-fund' through the passage of school funding referenda? How did we get to the point where charter schools are actually glorified private religious schools being funded on the public's dime?

Even if I can't answer the 'how', there is one thing that I know I can answer and that is who brought this chaos to bear? It doesn't take much more than a quick google search to find the answer to that question. And interestingly enough, duplication is easy to find between the legislation that authorized charter school expansion and the list of Community Partners provided by SSCA in their application.

Here is a list of State Legislators listed in SSCA's application on the 'Evidence of Community Support' page, which you can view in full by clicking here.

  • Senator Ed Charboneau, Valparaiso
  • Representative Ed Soliday, Valparaiso
  • Senator Dennis Kruse
  • Senator Rick Niemeyer
  • Representative Bill Fine
  • Representative Tony Cook
  • Representative Jim Lucas
  • Representative Brian Bosma
  • Representative Bob Behning
  • Representative Peggy Mayfield

    I am not certain if it is common practice for State Legislators to openly serve as 'Community Partners' with charter schools in organization and planning and development of the charter, but I do know there isn't anything more wrong with the process than politicians laying names to support charter applications. If this is going to become common practice with our State Legislators, then there truly is only one way to fix this problem and it requires going to the polls on election day and voting 'representatives' like this out of office. After all, with so-called 'Community Partners' like these, who needs enemies?

    To fully understand who got us here, we also have to look at the 2011 'school reform' legislation, that allowed ideological religious institutions like Grace College to myopically approve charter applications while cloistered in secrecy with their Board of Trustees and Senior Administration deciding whether to collect the check or not.

    Here is a link to the full HB 1002.

    Here is a link to the roll call vote approving the measure in the House.

    Here is a link to the roll call vote approving the measure in the Senate.

    If you look closely, you will see that both Ed Charbonneau and Ed Soliday voted to APPROVE Grace College as a charter authorizer. These self-proclaimed 'supporters of education' literally laid the ground work for the SSCA charter to come in to Valpo today - their own community. 

    You will also see that Dennis Kruse, the SSCA advisory board member, introduced this legislation in the Senate and voted for it while Brian Bosma introduced this legislation in the House and voted for it. One of our personal favorite legislators here at Hoosier Voices, Bob Behning also voted to give Grace authorizer status.

    So there you have it: Charbonneau, Soliday, Kruse, Bosma, and Behning are the Fab 5 that created this mess in Porter County and across our Great State. 

    Have you emailed the Fab 5? Have you let them know that while you aren't certain if they knew that this is where the 2011 charter expansion legislation would bear fruit, you do know that they created the mess and they need to fix it! Tell them that you expect them to PUBLICLY come out in opposition to this Charter School. Tell them that you expect them to put pressure on the Grace Board of Trustees to turn this charter application down. Furthermore, tell them that you expect them to go back to Indianapolis and fix this policy mess they have created. That is, IF they get reelected.

    Thursday, September 15, 2016

    Porter County Community Leaders OPPOSED To The SSCA Charter School

    One of the most impolitic parts of the SSCA application is the so-called "Evidence of Support from Community Partners" page, which you can find on the Grace College website under the section designated for SSCA in the 'attachments' located here. It reads as though the charter organizers combed through a list of prospective politicos that ALEC may want to buy and added those names to their application as community partners. In another post, we will feature these politicians along with highlights from their voting record: the link to that article will be posted here.

    Through this process what we have found is that there are many local leaders, elected officials, and candidates for office that stand OPPOSED to this charter school. So, we decided to put together this "Evidence of Opposition from Community Partners" page to feature community leaders who are also advocates and supporters of public education. If you do not see your name on this list and would like to include your statement, please email Hoosier Voices at hoosiervoices@gmail.com. Please join us in sending a resounding 'thank  you' to these community leaders for their bold leadership and strong voice in support of public education.

    We will continue to update this page as we collect more statement's of opposition to the SSCA charter.

    Duneland School Corporation Superintendent, Dr. David Pruis

    Valparaiso Community Schools Superintendent, Dr Ric Frataccia

    To read Dr. Frataccia's statement of opposition available on the district website, click here.

    Portage Township Schools 

    The School Board passed a resolution of opposition on September 14, 2016 and Board Vice President Cheryl Oprisko attended the public hearing to read the resolution.

    All 5 members of the Valparaiso School Board have expressed opposition to the SSCA charter school. At the September 15, 2016 Board meeting, the board unanimously agreed to draft a resolution of opposition.

    Porter County Councilor, Sylvia Graham

    "Porter County is blessed with 4 star schools that prepare our children for their futures. Three referendums have been passed by the people wanting to keep their school districts financed to maintain their quality standards.
    Charter schools were to be used in areas where public schools were failing.
    Again, no one has shown a need for this in Porter County. I believe those proposing this Charter school wants this charter to happen strictly because they want it. There is no proof that it is needed."

    Porter County Councilor, Dan Whitten

    To read Dan Whitten's statement of opposition on Facebook, click here.

    Valparaiso City Councilor, Diana Reed

    To read Diana Reed's statement of opposition on Facebook, click here.

    Valparaiso City Councilor, Robert Cotton

    To read Robert Cotton's statement of opposition on Facebook, click here

    Valparaiso City Councilor, Deb Porter

    To read Deb Porter's statement of opposition on Facebook, click here.

    4th District State Representative Candidate, Pamela Fish

    To read Pamela Fish's statement of opposition on Facebook, click here.

    5th District State Senator Candidate, Jim Harper

    To read Jim Harper's statement of opposition and watch the accompanying video on Facebook, click here.

    Portage City Councilor, Collin Czilli

    To read Collin Czilli's statement of opposition on Facebook, click here.

    List of State legislators that support SSCA charter

    South Shore Classical Academy 'Evidence of Community Partners' page from their application

    Open Letter To Grace College In Opposition To The SSCA

    Written By: Anna Hearn, Valparaiso IN

    Anna is a mother of two and an attorney who has lived in Valparaiso since 1978

    To whom it may concern,

    As a lifelong citizen of Northwest Indiana and a resident of Valparaiso since 1978, I am strongly opposed to the South Shore Classical Academy’s application supported by Grace College for several reasons. I am also strongly opposed to the efforts of Ed Soliday and Ed Charbonneau who support Charter schools, which over ½ of them are failing in this State and thus, are not giving our children the amazing education and future they deserve. One can Google Indiana Charter School grades or go onto the Indiana Department of Education’s website and see for themselves that these schools are failing. Mr. Soliday and Mr. Charbonneau were not even at Wednesday’s night meeting by South Shore Classical Academy to hear the hundreds of their constituents opposing this Charter school and their election is only less than two months away. Mr. Charbonneau has a truck with his picture on the side of it that was driven in the Popcorn Fest Parade just last weekend and thus, he had a mode of transportation to attend the meeting. However, it was noted by Grace College that they had spoken to both of these men behind the scenes. Because of Mr. Soliday and Mr. Charbonneau’s lack of support of the public schools in Porter County, I strongly urge the citizens of Porter County to vote wisely at the poles this November so that this Charter school and public school funding fiasco can be fixed. Instead, both Mr. Soliday and Mr. Charbonneau have consistently voted in support of these failing charter schools, which takes money away from the A-rated Public schools to give to the Charters schools. Both of these men should save their postage and telephone calls on how they support Public Education, because that is clearly not the case. Our children in Porter County and this State deserves better.

    The reasons that I am against South Shore Classical Academy are listed below. To begin with, the schools that Grace College are supporting are failing. Smith Academy for Excellence (specializing in a Classic curriculum) located in Fort Wayne, Indiana has received an F since 2012 by the Indiana Department of Education. Over 91% of its students failed the ISTEP test. The second school, Dugger Union Community School’s ISTEP scores showed that 70% of its students failed the test. Since Dugger was just opened by Grace in 2015, it is too early to give them a grade by the DOE; however, by their failure rate on the ISTEP test, it is on its way as well to get a failing grade. If one goes to the Indiana Department of Education Website, they can see for themselves.

    Porter County Schools are “A” rated by the Department of Education. Porter County Schools provide an amazing education that includes not only the classical method, but many other methods that will prepare our kids to be accepted to the best colleges and obtain the best jobs upon graduation. The problem with the “classical” method, is that is limits the students to the past and does not prepare them for the future, as indicated by the above failing grades. At the meeting, the “board” stated that they just use books and not computers. Let’s be real, this is 2016 and we need to prepare our children for the future, which includes the use of technology. We, citizens of Porter County cannot stand for our hard earned tax dollars to be taken away from “A” rated schools to be given to failing schools to line the pockets of a board created by only several people that has lacked complete transparency. How can a child truly learn in a trailer, especially one with special needs? How is this ADA compliant?

    Next, I also have issues with who is behind this attempt to create this “classical” public charter school. Two of the board members are from Fairhaven and the authorizer is Grace College. Fairhaven and Grace College are evangelical Christian schools and colleges. One of the board’s members, Diana Gonzalez, who stated in the public meeting that she is for the “best interest for her children,” was deemed by the Indiana Court of Appeals not to be in the best interest of her own when she lost custody of her kids after she had the children’s dad excommunicated from the Fairhaven and its school. (Diana Gonzalez v. Edward Gonzalez, No. 64A04-0712-CV-133, Ind. Ct. App. 2008). Per the facts of this case, after a member is ex- communicated from Fairhaven, they are shunned by the congregation and members are not allowed to acknowledge or speak to that person. Therefore, Mr. Gonzalez could not even speak to his children’s teachers or be involved in their education. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling and found that this was not in the “best interest” of the kids and awarded custody to the father who then placed the children in another school. Grace College’s core beliefs includes teaching about Jesus Christ. Grace College and Fairhaven’s beliefs go against the State Statute regarding charter schools which state that a “charter school” means a non-sectarian and non-religious school. It is unrealistic that these two evangelical entities are truly going to abide by these principals. It appears that they are attempting to obtain more school funding that what they could obtain from a private school. This is in direct violation of the United States Constitution and the separation between Church and State as they are attempting to circumvent the law. If these entities want to set up this school, then it should be set up as a private school and go through that avenue just like St. Paul’s and every other religious private school has to.

    Further, I find that Grace’s failure to contact the school administrations, such as the Portage and Duneland School Corporation (the school corporation that the charter school is located in) is appalling as it is required by Statute. It is even more appalling that when one of the Portage school board members wanted to speak, Grace attempted limit her to speaking to only 2 minutes. Thank you to the audience members who gave up their time so that she could speak more, as it is obvious Grace College (who is supposed to be governed by Christian principals) did not want her to speak the truth, as to what is truly going on. They also stated in correspondence that they had spoken to representative from Chicago Street Theatre. A spokesman for Chicago Street Theatre stated that was false as well. Grace and the board members also indicated that they had been in contact with Valparaiso Mayor Costas, which again was not the case.

    Grace also led everyone to believe that it had a lease land with the Greek Orthodox Church to put modular trailers on it so that the children could learn. Per the Priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, none of this ever occurred and was false. Grace’s non-orthodox way of doing things leaves one to suspect their true motives. Do they truly believe that the citizens of Porter County are that ignorant not to come together and figure these things out? Right now, South Shore has no place and/or land to put a school. Modular trailers are not appropriate for learning or for children. It is completely unbelievable that our State Senator and State Representative would be for this Charter when the above has and is occurring.

    Most importantly, the education that I received from Duneland School Corporation and the education my daughters receive from the Valparaiso Community School Corporation are second to none.
    My parents immigrated to the United States from the former Czechoslovakia to escape communism in 1968. They met in Gary, Indiana at Holy Trinity Church bingo. A couple years later, they got married at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas and then, I came along. As any immigrant, they wanted the best for their children, so they moved to Valparaiso, Indiana across from the Pines Ski Lodge. Having Slovak parents had its challenges, as my mother did not graduate from high school and my parent’s language barrier. My parents are extraordinary people, but they could only help me much when it came to academics. 

    I began speaking English late and was behind when I entered kindergarten at Liberty Elementary School. I was struggling. The Duneland School Corporation never gave up on me and provided me with an amazing education. I played “classical” music with the then young Mr. Tom Schnabel on the State Ranked Orchestra. As part of the orchestra, we learned the classics and were in musicals and Madrigal dinner, which is a tradition to this day. I was on nationally ranked swim team lead by Kevin Kinel, who was just two years ago was ranked the Number 1 coach by USA Swimming and who helped produced an Olympian, Blake Pieroni that just brought home a gold from Rio. I will admit that I was not that good, but my experiences on that swim team were amazing and Coach Kinel not only cared if his swimmer won the race, but if that swimmer was also successful in life. That is a true teacher and life coach. As a parent, I am proud that both of my daughters are now on the same very swim team with the very same coaches, because these coaches do not believe in quitting.

    I was also on the nationally ranked Trojan Guard. Chesterton High School also has a radio station WDSO that I was a DJ on. I was able to take two languages and took history and government classes with the amazing Ralph Ayres, may he rest in peace. He was a true Statesman and for the Public schools. All of these teachers and much more, not only cared about the classes they taught, they cared deeply about their students and thought of us as their kids. They would look at our schedules to make sure we were taking college bound classes and so that we could go to college if we wished. The teachers would take their time out of their busy schedules to give us extra help if we needed to get our grades up. I give them credit for helping me to get into Indiana University and then, law school. I have been an attorney since 1999. These teachers did not just see me as a Slovak kid, they saw me as a child that was going to be something, like they do with every child that is in their school system.

    My amazing daughters are now truly blessed to be students at Hayes Leonard Elementary School, which is part of the Valparaiso Community Schools system. The Administration and the teachers care about their students just like the Duneland School Corporation. Both daughters are A students. Because Hayes Leonard Elementary is closing, my oldest daughter, who is in the 5th grade will be the last Student Council President at Hayes. When one of my daughters was being bullied by a child, they immediately stepped in and put an end to it immediately. My oldest was in spell bowl, which the Valparaiso Schools are top state ranked. Central Elementary is the State Champ in Spell Bowl and Thomas Jefferson Middle School is the Science Olympian champ. If the teachers see that my daughters’ grades are slipping just slightly, they make sure they pull them aside to get their grades back up. They too, are preparing my daughters for college even in elementary school. Just this year, they are introducing Spanish in some of the elementary schools.

    Next year, my oldest daughter will be going to Ben Franklin where she wants to play the cello and participate in drama. Ben Franklin has a theatre program and does plays for the community. They also do the classics. The girls will be able to take many languages, take philosophy and learn classic literature, which is incorporated in their curriculum now. If they wish to participate in sports, like be on the gymnastics team that has continuously won State championships or be on the swim team, they can. It is their choice because each student is an individual and VSC provides every avenue for that student to excel to whatever that student wants to be as an adult. While in high school, if for some reason they do not want to go to college, they can participate in the technical program or other occupational programs that will provide a certificate upon graduation so that they will not have to live off of minimum wage job, which helps the Porter County economy. Valparaiso also has top rated sport teams and emphasizes in the arts. This is what colleges look for, a well-rounded student. This is what an A-rated school does, not an F-rated school like the ones Grace College supports.

    In 2015, the Valparaiso Community came together to overwhelming pass a $150 million dollar construction referendum and an additional operational referendum so that we could completely renovate every elementary school and the high school. Administrators, teachers, parents and community members launched a massive campaign coming together proving to everyone that “We are Valpo.” Construction has already begun on all of the schools. Teachers have received raises. The STEM program is now available for elementary school students so that they can learn engineering. Foreign languages and music has been expanded, as well as the technical school. Every child is different and thus, the responsibility of any school is to make as many learning experiences possible so that a child can be anything they want to be. That is what VSC has done and is doing. Even though VSC is one of the top schools in the State, we still think “we can do better” and we are. Each child now has a computer they can use at school, something which South Shore Classical Academy opposes.

    We, as Porter County citizens need to come together now to show everyone, South Shore Classical Academy, Grace College and Mr. Soliday and Mr. Charbonneau that “We are Porter County,” as none of the above can be obtained in a trailer at the classical charter school that Grace College proposes. Our tax dollars are going to house students in a modular trailer, seriously? We have to fight against our tax dollars going to Grace College that has already proven that the schools that Grace supports are failing. Porter County schools should not have its funding taken away because of this Charter when it has proven not to be transparent and are failures in the first place. Our schools should be rewarded for their accomplishments and not punished by funding being taken away by a self-serving group that just frankly wants to line its pockets with Porter County tax payer money and are failures.

    I ask that everyone in Porter County and come together to take a stance against Grace College and the South Shore Academy and the State representatives and Senators that support this Charter School. Election-day is less than 2 months away. Let’s keep the money in our schools. I also respectfully ask that Grace College revoke its application based on these reasons and for all reasons given at the Public Hearing. This is not the County where this school should be located. I do agree with Superintendent Ric Frataccia that if Grace does continue with this Charter, the citizens of Porter County will make it their mission to run it to the ground.


    Anna Hearn