As things "heat up" during this legislative session here is where you will find your Advocacy Call to Action.  Make sure you write, call, and make your voice heard when it comes to the bills that affect PUBLIC education.

Hoosier Voices Supports these bills.  

Contact your Legislators Today!

HB 1001 and SB 189    -    K-12 School Funding

These two bills would provide additional funding to schools due to a shortfall caused by an increased number of students enrolling in our traditional public schools. Both bills unanimously passed out of committee this week and will likely move out of their respective chambers next week.

Currently the state of Indiana has an estimated shortfall of $11.8 million in school funding and special needs student enrollment has yet to be certified. Without additional funding, schools would have to make unexpected cuts to programs and other cost cutting measures.

UPDATESenate Bill 189 and House Bill 1001 would close the gap in school funding that resulted from miscalculations in the number of students attending public schools. The bills would let the state transfer up to $25 million per year from a reserve fund to the state general fund, where it could then be distributed to districts.

Both of the bills, which move money from a reserve fund to the state general fund, sped through their respective chambers, and are on-track to be moved through the opposing chamber. Even with revisions to the proposed law, it’s likely that a fix will be approved before the session ends in mid-March.

Continue to SUPPORT HB 1001 and SB 189

Hoosier Voices OPPOSES the bills below.

Contact your Legislators TODAY!

HB 1315 (Rep. Tim Brown-Crawfordsville)-School Financial Management

Already this session, Legislators are continuing their concerns from last session about the state of some school districts' finances. Last session Muncie and Gary schools were ordered into state takeover, disbanding their elected school boards and replaced by privately run emergency managers.

HB 1315 takes last session's actions to an extreme new level. This bill would put schools with the "potential" of becoming financially impaired or financially distressed on notice. This bill would also hold classroom teachers responsible for the state of a districts' finances by allowing them to be fired, less than three months into a job, as well as breaking the collective voice of educators by disbanding local teachers' associations.

Classroom teachers and their students should be the last resort when it comes to cost cutting. When a school district is in fiscal trouble, the first course of state action should not be about casting misplaced blame on service providers.

A hearing for this bill has not been scheduled, but could be at any moment.

Legislators should take a step back and start this discussion about the fiscal viability of school districts and finding and sharing data on schools' finances.  
Tell your legislators that there shouldn't be such a rush to punishment and that you oppose this bill should it be heard. 

UPDATE-HB 1315 passed out of the House, 65 - 26. House Democrats offered amendments that would have improved the bill, including an amendment from Rep. Melanie Wright (D - Yorktown) that would have made certain Muncie teachers had the right to a collective voice and a seat at the table, but it was defeated.
HB 1315 now moves to the Senate for consideration. Even if you have already completed the call to action, we need your voice again, as this time you will be contacting your senator.

Continue to contact your legislators in the Senate to OPPOSE HB 1315, as this bill would hand control of Muncie Community Schools over to Ball State University (BSU). BSU would be empowered to appoint a new, unelected school board for Muncie Schools. To summarily remove a locally elected school board is drastic action. The bill would also punish Muncie teachers by stripping them of their right to association recognition and to bargain wage issues and discuss student learning issues.

For all other teachers in the state, HB1315 would hold classroom teachers responsible for the state of a school districts' finances by specifically calling for the termination of up to 5 percent of the teacher force by the end of a fall semester, if a district is designated as being in fiscal distress. These actions would no doubt impact student learning and academic goals and increase class sizes right in the middle of a school year.

SB 303 (Sen. Jeff Raatz - Richmond)  -  Various Education Matters

SB 303 would implement a variety of unrelated education policies, but one element hidden within the bill would damage the teaching profession.

The bill would require bargained teacher contracts to contain a minimum number of hours per day the teacher is expected to work, as opposed to a set number of hours.

During his term as state superintendent, Tony Bennett tried this approach and a court found that it violated the law.

This bill is disrespectful of the work and time teachers put in each day. Teachers already put in additional hours and personal expense to ensure that their students are served.

Tell your legislators you oppose SB 303.

UPDATE - This bill passed out of the Senate 45 -3.  Please continue to OPPOSE this bill as it moves to the House.  Contact your Representatives in the House and as them to OPPOSE SB 303.

OPPOSE HB 1315 and SB 303

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