School Board – Opposing ESAs and Vouchers

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Originally posted Aug 1, 2021. Last updated Aug 9, 2022.

2022 Brown County Schools Referendum – for the Record

The 2021/2022 State Budget – Schools. School funding increased to include teacher compensation. This did not prevent the perceived need to pass another referendum. Vouchers were expanded and the policy was made a local issue. 

The last two Brown County Superintendents (David Shaffer, Laura Hammack) publically came out against voucher expansion as did the School Board.

Apr 23, 2021. Indiana expands school voucher program to include most middle-class families By Margaret Menge | The Center Square

    • The move was hailed by Republicans, who have supermajorities in both chambers, and assailed by Democrats, who were unable to stop it as it sailed through the House and then the Senate tucked inside the budget bill that will fund the state government for the next two years.
    • A decade ago, Indiana decided to be a school choice state and we followed that along,” said Sen. Jeff Raatz, R-Richmond, chairman of the Senate education committee, “We’re never going to agree on the concept, I suppose…but we have done a historic effort here…We fund students and not systems, essentially. That’s what the state decided a decade ago.”
    • Indiana was called a leader in school choice 10 years ago when it passed one of the strongest school choice laws in the country, introducing the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program – commonly known as the state’s “school voucher program.”   
    • Under the new law, a family of four can have a total household income up to about $145,000. A family of three can have an income up to $120,500 and a single-parent, single-child household can have an income up to about $95,700 and still qualify.
    • The budget bill containing the school voucher language and ESAs passed the House 96-2 and the Senate 46-3, and is now headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is expected to sign it into law before the end of the month.

April 20, 2021. New Indiana budget proposal increases funding for teacher pay and voucher expansion By  Stephanie Wang

    • Indiana lawmakers plan to boost funding to K-12 schools to fulfill a recommendation to add $600 million by 2023 to increase teacher pay.

      With about $2 billion more than they initially anticipated in the state revenue forecast, lawmakers proposed Tuesday to hike per-student spending by 4.6% in 2021-22 and 4.3% in 2022-23. Both increases exceed what legislators previously had planned.

April 8, 2021. SUPERINTENDENT’S CORNER: Why local school leaders oppose more voucher funding,  By LAURA HAMMACK, guest columnist. One of our recent school board meetings realized the passing of a resolution authored by both our Brown County Schools Board of Trustees and the Brown County Educators’ Association. This resolution affirmed their position of opposing education savings accounts and voucher expansion bills currently being considered by the Indiana General Assembly.

April 6, 2021School board formally opposes voucher expansion, education savings accounts by Suzannah Couch – The Brown County Schools Board of Trustees has joined more than 170 other public school boards in Indiana in opposing legislation that expands funding for private schools.

    • Aug 20, 2021 Letter: GOP legislators shirking responsibility to education by David Shaffer, former superintendent, Brown County Schools. I read with interest Suzannah Couch’s article of April 7, 2021, on the Brown County school board’s Resolution to Oppose the Expansion of the Indiana Voucher Program and to Oppose the Creation of Education Savings Accounts, two actions currently being supported by the Republican supermajority in this session of the Indiana General Assembly. Both actions are likely to pass as a part of the new two-year budget for Indiana.

Apr 6, 2021. Letter: The case against expanding the school voucher program by Terry Spradlin, executive director, Indiana School Boards Association (submitted by Adam VanOsdol, ISBA communications specialist/content strategist)

Mar 10, 2021. School boards push back against Indiana voucher expansions  IBJ, — Local school leaders across Indiana are lining up against a Republican-backed school funding plan over concerns it would give private schools a big financial boost at the detriment of traditional public schools.

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