February 19, 2020

Senate Democrats Call For Greater Virtual School Accountability

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Senate Democrats – from left, Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary), Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) and Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) – are calling for greater accountability for virtual charter schools. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Senate Democrats – from left, Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary), Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) and Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) – are calling for greater accountability for virtual charter schools.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana Senate Democrats are calling for greater accountability for virtual charter schools in the wake of allegations that two such schools inappropriately took $68 million in tax dollars.

A recent state report found the Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy enrolled thousands of students who never took a course and some who didn’t even know they were enrolled. Senate Democrats call it “systemic fraud” that Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) says demands legislative action.

“We need to have some guardrails," Lanane says. "We need to have accountability.”

Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) points to his proposal to impose more rules on all charter schools, not just virtual ones.

“An authorizer would be required to sign a bond so that in case there was fraud – as in the Indiana Virtual Schools – the state would have a way to get paid back,” Stoops says.

Republicans have largely rebuffed Democrats’ efforts in recent years on virtual charter schools.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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