May 14, 2018

Controversy Likely In Special Session Over School Takeover Bill

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Lawmakers will meet for the first special session since 2009.  - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Lawmakers will meet for the first special session since 2009.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

The General Assembly will meet Monday in a special session to consider school safety, tax, and school takeover legislation. Much of the controversy will focus on that last measure and how it might affect schools across the state.

The school takeover bill is largely about intensifying state takeover of the distressed Gary and Muncie schools. But it also creates new, so-called “fiscal indicators” for every school system, meant to monitor their financial conditions for warning signs.

Indiana State Teachers Association government relations director Gail Zeheralis says that has people asking: who’s next for takeover?

“It’s understandable that folks out there would say, you know what, our demographics, our trending, our this, our that, don’t look a whole lot different,” Zeheralis says.

But Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says the fiscal indicators should avoid future takeovers.

“Because we really don’t want to usurp local authority except where they’ve just repeatedly failed to listen or make changes that were requested,” Long says.

GOP leaders say they’re confident the bill will pass.

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