Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #342 – February 10, 2020

Dear Friends,

Here is your chance to stand up for public education! Come to the Statehouse on Presidents’ Day to support public education!

On Monday February 17th, you along with your friends, family and colleagues are invited to a “Rally for Public Education”.

Speakers begin at 2:00 pm in the North Atrium.

Go to the ICPE website for additional information: www.indianacoalitionforpubliced.org

Renewed Attacks

Public education, an institution that has undergirded our democracy for 190 years, remains under attack:
  • Last Tuesday in the State of the Union address, President Trump falsely labeled public schools “failing government schools” as he called for $5 billion taxpayer dollars to go to private school scholarships.
  • We have a private school voucher advocate with no professional experience in public schools as US Secretary of Education.
  • Next year Indiana could mimic this unbelievable “lead without K-12 experience” problem. In 2019, the General Assembly passed a law confirming that the Governor of Indiana can appoint a Secretary of Education in 2021 who is not required to have any experience in K-12 education, replacing our elected State Superintendent of Public Education, an elected office serving Indiana since the 1851 Constitution.
  • Proposals in the current legislative short session to give teachers at least a small bonus from surplus funds were ignored by the supermajority. The excellent economy produced $291 million to be spent now, but it was all given to pay cash for college buildings. Underpaid teachers who came to the Statehouse in record numbers last November have been told to wait until next year.
Public education has been under attack for a long time. For an even longer time, public education has been a tremendous cornerstone to progress and democracy.

It’s time to remind the Statehouse of our support for public education!

Public officials in the Statehouse need to put a higher priority on PUBLIC education. Only constituents and voters can get them to do that. That’s where we need your presence in the Statehouse. I hope to see you there!

Partners and Details

Many groups are partnering with the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, the organizer, to support the “Rally for Public Education” on Presidents’ Day. Others may be added. In alphabetical order, they are:

AFT Indiana

Concerned Clergy

Indiana Parent Teacher Association

IPS Community Coalition

Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education

Washington Township Parent Council Network


Speakers at 2:00 pm in the North Atrium are being coordinated by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, and Joel Hand, ICPE will serve as MC. Speakers include:
Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana State Superintendent of Public Education

Gleneva Dunham, President, AFT Indiana

Julie Klingenberger, President, Indiana PTA

Dr. Phil Downs, Indiana Superintendent of the Year, Southwest Allen County Schools

Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer, President, Indiana Coalition for Public Education

Dountonia Batts, Indiana Coalition for Public Education

Justin Deem-Loureiro, Student

Zoe Bardon, Student

Emony Calloway, Student

Rev. Ramon Batts, Concerned Clergy
I hope to see you at the Statehouse!

Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is representing ICPE extremely well in the 2020 short session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.indianacoalitionforpubliced.org for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April of 2018, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #341 – February 5, 2020

Dear Friends,

It’s the elephant in the room.

Consider the teacher pay issue. Then come to the rally for public education on Monday, February 17 at 2 p.m. in the Statehouse.

At the half-way point in the short session of the General Assembly, proposals for a teacher pay bonus have been ignored by the Republican supermajority, with the message: wait until next year.

Over 15,000 teachers came to the Statehouse in November, a record-shattering number for an education issue. Their message: they need a pay increase to keep going.

Legislators had excess money from a good economy to hand out: $291 million. Did they give a little part of that for a teacher bonus?

No.

HB 1007 was passed quickly through both houses and has already been signed by Governor Holcomb giving all the extra money to pay cash for higher education buildings, rather than borrowing to build them as planned in the 2019 budget. This quick action guaranteed there would be no last minute attempt to fund teacher bonuses in the short session.

Democrats tried to amend the bill to spend the money on teacher pay. The amendments failed.

State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick expressed disappointment in delaying new money for teacher pay in an interview on Channel 8 after Governor Holcomb’s State of the State speech, accurately commenting that “the Governor’s speech highlighted great things in the state, but teacher pay is not one of them.”

The supermajority priorities are clear here: buildings over teachers.

Why?

Why have Gov. Holcomb, Speaker Bosma and the Republican leadership team decided to ignore the plea of Indiana’s underpaid teachers for a bonus this session? Why have teachers been told to wait for another year?

I see four theories which may add to your own analysis.

Theory 1: Perhaps the Governor and Republican leaders have concluded that underpaid and angry teachers will not defeat them in the November election so there is no political need to provide a quick bonus now.

If Governor Holcomb was worried that teachers would rise up to block his re-election, he would have chosen to get on the good side of teachers with a bonus in the current session. Press reports prior to his State of the State address made it sound like he might help teachers now, but if he temporarily felt so inclined, he chose to fall in line with Republican legislative leaders who clearly did not want to add a teacher bonus in the short session. Instead, he announced a $250 million transfer in 2021 from the surplus to pay for local teacher pension payments, a move which he said would free up $50 million each year for extra teacher pay in both 2021-22 and 2022-23.

It is highly unusual to announce budget details more than a year in advance. Obviously, it assumes his re-election.

It is not clear how teachers will respond to this “wait another year” treatment.

Theory 2: Perhaps the Governor and Republican leaders believe they gave enough to K-12 in the 2019 budget, despite the pleas of teachers that the teacher shortage is still a huge problem due to low pay.

Republican leaders keep referring to the $763 million added to the 2019 budget, apparently thinking that was enough for the biennium and teachers shouldn’t be asking for more in a non-budget year.

Here’s how Republican leaders get to the $763 million figure:

Keep in mind that when counting new money, the new money for the first year must be repeated in the second year as the base for an additional increase. Thus, the new money in the 2019 budget was $178 million for a 2.5% increase in the first year plus $178 million to match that increase for the second year, plus $183 million to raise the second year by 2.5%.

That totals to $539 million. Compare this figure to $710 million new dollars added to the 2007 budget and $616 million new dollars (which then included property tax) added to the 1997 budget. Adding $539 million in the 2019 budget was not a historic high for K-12 tuition support.

Then the Governor’s 2019 plan to reduce pension payments by $150 million over two years was enacted.

Adding $150 million to the $539 million raised the 2019 total to $689 million.

Then categorical funding for specific programs like the Teacher Appreciation Fund received $74 million in new money.

Adding $74 million to $689 million raised the 2019 total to the number you have heard: $763 million.

Governor Holcomb has now clarified that his pension payment of $150 million last year freed up $65 million in each year of the biennium for teacher pay. Interestingly, that adds up to $130 million and the mantra of $763 million has apparently been reduced by $20 million. The Governor did not explain the $20 million discrepancy.

These are not numbers for a satisfied victory lap. The 2019 budget did not provide teacher pay increases that would keep teachers from moving to higher paying jobs in neighboring states or in another career.

Theory 3: Perhaps Republican leaders believe their own faulty analysis that local school boards are at fault for low teacher pay because they are spending too much on “overhead” and not enough on “classroom” spending.

Speaker Bosma’s response to the enormous teacher rally in November was to say that local school boards have had the money to pay teachers but are not spending it correctly on the classroom. He cites the statistics on classroom spending which say 58% of education dollars are spent on “the classroom.”

Public school advocates should know that the statistics he cites give a misleading and bogus narrative to the teacher pay issue.

“Dollars to the Classroom” has been a mantra of Republicans since a controversial 2006 law passed narrowly by the House 51-49 allowed Gov. Daniels to say: “We can’t keep shoveling money into a system where 40 cents off the top of every dollar goes to what is not essential.” (Jan. 18, 2009, Indiana Lawmakers, WFYI-TV)

Creating these misleading statistics was only designed to allow sound bites such as that from Governor Daniels above. It is completely unfair to criticize local school boards for non-classroom spending without knowing the circumstances of the district. Many essentials including facilities and debt are defined as “non-classroom” spending. Growing districts have to build new buildings and carry higher debt. That would lift their non-classroom spending and lower their percentage.

The classroom spending statistics are a cover for legislative leaders who have not put enough into K-12 education over the last decade to keep up with surrounding states.

What are the “overhead” spending categories defined in accordance with Indiana Code 20-42.5? Here is a complete listing of what Speaker Bosma thinks can and should be trimmed to boost teacher pay: (Numbers are from the chart of accounts)

23100 Board of Education
23200 Executive Administration/Superintendent Office Services
25100 Fiscal Services/Business Manager
25200 Purchasing Services
25300 Printing Services
25200 Planning, Research, Development and Evaluation
25600 Public Information Services
25700 Personnel Services
25800 Technology Services
25900 Other Support Services
26000 Maintenance Services
27000 Student Transportation
30000 Noninstructional Services (including food services)
40000 Facilities Acquisition and Construction
50000 Debt Services
60105 Donations to Foundations
60700 Scholarships

That’s the complete list for “non-classroom” spending. All other categories are called “classroom” spending and are then figured as a percentage of total spending, giving politicians the opportunity to criticize schools that fall below the arbitrary standard of 65%.

Pressure from Speaker Bosma and others to lower “operational, non-classroom” spending is egregiously wrong on two points:
1) Safe schools – Spending on safe schools, both on hardening buildings and on training, is an obvious priority in Indiana in the past two years, but it is considered “non-classroom” spending. It is wrong for Speaker Bosma and his supermajority leaders to pressure local leaders to spend less on school safety.

2) Public information and parent information – School choice requires schools to inform parents and to market their school to the community. If they don’t, their school will die from dwindling enrollment. Spending on parent information and marketing is categorized as “non-classroom” spending. If Speaker Bosma pressures local school districts to spend less on marketing in order to pay teachers, he is pushing for them to risk the very existence of the school which depends on parent information for enrollments. He can’t support school choice and simultaneously support cutting the money spent on marketing the school to parents.
Theory 4: Perhaps Republican leaders don’t see low teacher pay and the resulting teacher shortage as a big problem. They think it can wait. If teachers leave the classrooms of our public schools, then private schools look better and students may transfer to private schools, which some Republican leaders who want to privatize all of our schools would favor.


The step by step privatization of all public schools is the goal of those who favor the policies of Milton Friedman and libertarians like Charles Koch. To this faction, destabilizing traditional public schools with severe teacher shortages and teacher turnover will help bring about the deconstruction of public education and lead to the privatization transition they want.

Consider these four theories and let your legislators know you are concerned about teacher pay.

Two Things You Can Do
1) Communicate with your legislators to let them know you think teachers need a bonus in pay now, not next year. Too many schools are having real problems with teacher shortages and teacher turnover when teachers go for higher paying positions in other states or in other careers.

2) Come to the “Rally for Public Education” sponsored by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education to speak up for better K-12 funding for teacher pay and for other needs:

When? Monday, February 17, 2020, 2 p.m.

Where? The North Atrium of the Indiana Statehouse

Bring friends! Bring posters! Bring your voices! Wear RED for PUBLIC ED!

Check out rally details on the ICPE website: www.indianacoalitionforpubliced.org

Thank you for your strong support for public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is representing ICPE extremely well in the 2020 short session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.indianacoalitionforpubliced.org for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April of 2018, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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Friday, November 15, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #340 – November 14, 2019

Dear Friends,

News reports say 8000 teachers and public school advocates have registered for the education rally on November 19th in the Statehouse.

That is truly an impressive number.

I have been watching the General Assembly as a public education advocate for 23 years, and 8000 would make this the largest public education rally the Statehouse has ever seen during all those years.

I offer below a reprint of my education budget analysis issued last May. I thought it would be helpful to all interested in the rally to review the details of the education budget passed last April. The following analysis was issued on May 1, 2019 in “Vic’s Statehouse Notes #337,” which provided:
  • a summary of changes in the 2019-2021 budget
  • a comparison of the new tuition support budget with the six previous budgets
  • a listing of three chunks of new money totaling $763 million over two years
  • an analysis of the 70% voucher for private schools costing $19 over two years
  • an analysis of the $31.5 million going to School Scholarships for private school tuition
Informed discussions with legislators about needed additional funding must start with detailed awareness of the current budget. So, here again is the May analysis, putting the current budget in a context of the last 14 years of education spending. I offer it again below for those who are ready to dig into the details to answer the question of why a 2-year education package of $763 million is insufficient for the needs of public schools in Indiana and diverts far too much money to private schools:

Insufficient and Diverting Money to Private Schools: An Analysis of the Current Education Budget – reprinted from Notes #337 dated May 1, 2019

Click here to read Vic's Statehouse Notes #337.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #339 – August 19, 2019

Dear Friends,

“Traditional public education is nothing less than the cornerstone of democracy.” Unraveling Reform Rhetoric, p. 81

Two of the three authors of an important new book will lead off the annual ICPE membership meeting in Indianapolis this coming Saturday, August 24th. Don’t miss it!

If you support public schools and want to keep them public, we need you!

When: Saturday, August 24, 2019, 2 – 4 p.m.

Where: H. Dean Evans Community Center, MSD of Washington Township
86th & Woodfield Crossing Blvd, Indianapolis

What: Annual Indianapolis meeting of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education

Open to all ICPE members and to all who support public education.

Speakers are: Dr. Michael Shaffer (Ball State University) and Dr. Jeff Swensson (Ball State retired, former superintendent in Carmel) will speak. They have authored (along with Dr. John Ellis, former executive director of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents after serving as superintendent in Noblesville and Jennings County) a new book entitled Unraveling Reform Rhetoric: What Educators Need to Know and Understand, which raises questions about recent education reforms. They will share their concerns described in the book about the differences between traditional public education and free-market schooling.

The three authors address fundamental questions about the current battle to maintain traditional public schools:

“If free market theory disconnects individuals from their responsibilities and obligations to create and maintain the public good, what happens to U.S. democracy? If what is known about the potential of traditional public education is lost, can the primacy of self-interest suffice for the good of the nation?” (Unraveling Reform Rhetoric, p. 79)

The book’s analysis is based on a premise familiar to public school advocates: “The future of U.S. students and the future of democracy depend on an inclusive, academically rigorous, and socially just traditional public education.” (p. 8)

Come and hear more from the authors!

PLUS Joel Hand will speak, our outstanding ICPE lobbyist for all nine General Assembly sessions since ICPE was founded in 2011. He will overview the 2019 session, especially ICPE’s efforts to improve the budget, and then share what he expects to emerge in the 2020 session.


9th Annual Fall Membership Meeting in Indianapolis

For the ninth fall, the Indiana Coalition for Public Education is inviting all ICPE members as well as all who support public education to come to the Washington Township Community and Education Center. The future of public education in Indiana hangs in the balance.

Come for information and great networking with other public school advocates. Come in support of public education!

Please join us on August 24 at 2 p.m.!

Bring a public education friend with you! RSVPs aren’t required, but feel free to email us at icpe2011@icpe2011.com to let us know you’re coming.

Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand represented ICPE extremely well during the 2019 budget session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!


Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April of 2018, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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Friday, July 5, 2019

NEA Hosts Candidates July 5

NEA will host Democratic candidates in a forum today, July 5, at 3 PM Eastern Time.

The event will be live streamed. Click here to watch: ra.nea.org/livestream/
America’s largest labor union, the National Education Association, will host 2020 presidential candidates at its annual Representative Assembly in Houston. Educators are poised to play a major role in choosing the president of the United States. And now we are taking this energy to the 2020 campaign where we will lead a conversation about the schools our students deserve.

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #337 – May 1, 2019

Dear Friends,

The 2019 budget deal was announced on April 23rd and passed on April 24th to close the budget session.

Messages you sent to give K-12 schools better funding in the final version were successful! Thank you for your efforts!

The final funding for K-12 was higher than any previous proposal. This is true despite the latest revenue forecast that said Indiana would have $100 million less to spend. The grassroots pressure to raise K-12 funding was as high as I’ve seen it in the 23 sessions of the General Assembly that I have attended.

Despite the improvement in K-12 funding, the budget results present a mixed picture for public education in Indiana:
  • K-12 tuition support got a 2.5% increase each year, a bit higher than the 2015 increases but not as much as the 2007 budget increases. See the chart below to put these increases into historical context for the past seven budgets.
  • Giving more and more public money to private schools continued. Voucher expansion in the form of the new 70% voucher was included in the budget at a two-year new cost estimated by LSA to be $19 million. Tax credits for private school scholarships were expanded at a two-year new cost of $3.5 million. Charter school grants, given in addition to funding provided in the funding formula for charter schools, were raised by 50% at a two-year extra cost of $15 million. These three new benefits for private and charter schools total $37.5 million.
  • The funding formula estimates vouchers (Choice Scholarships) to cost $175 million in the first year of the new budget and $185 million in the second year. That money comes out of the K-12 tuition support fund cited above.
  • The funding formula estimates that in the first year voucher students will increase by 4.3% but voucher funding will increase by 9.3%. In the second year of the budget, voucher students will increase by 3.5% but voucher funding will increase by 5.6%.
  • The funding formula estimates that new charter schools will get $12 million in the first year of the new budget and $26 million in the second year of the budget. Budgets for all charter schools, except for the charter school grants mentioned above, come out of the line item for K-12 tuition support.
  • Some 60 of the 289 public school districts will get less money in the funding formula due to stable or declining student enrollments. These districts will be hard pressed to raise teacher pay or simply to maintain current programs.
  • On average, community public school districts saw funding gains in the range of 2% while voucher increases cited above are far higher.
  • Pension payments owed by school districts were reduced by 2% using the budget surplus, giving school districts an estimated savings of $70 million each year, equivalent to another 1% increase in K-12 tuition support. The problem is that this money is not distributed evenly and some small districts will get very little help from this program. The Indianapolis Star found that districts could receive a range from $1100 per teacher to $600 per teacher and that small districts might count only a few teachers in this pension plan providing minimal help to boost teacher pay.
  • The Teacher Appreciation Grant was raised from $30 million to $37.5 million each year.
  • Funding for English Language Learner programs rose from $17.5 million to $22.5 million each year.
  • Funding to pay for curriculum materials (textbooks) for low-income students remained stuck at $39 million each year, where it has been for over a decade. Low funding in this program means the state pays only a portion of the textbook costs, usually around 75%. Districts with high percentages of low-income students must pay for those textbooks out of scarce local funds.
The good news in this list is tempered by the ease that voucher-supporting groups were once again able to expand vouchers and tax credits for private school scholarships. The heavy lifting required to get more money for public school teacher pay compared to the ease by which voucher programs were expanded raises questions about the future of public education in Indiana.

Does the supermajority General Assembly leadership really want public school teachers to feel supported and respected in Indiana? If public schools falter because teachers leave the state or the teaching profession, then parents will choose private schools and private schools will win the competition that the General Assembly began in 2011. Keeping good teachers is essential to the success of public education.


Compare This Budget with Six Previous Budgets

Claims about the new budget can be weighed by comparing it to the previous six budgets. Study the table below to see how the new 2019 budget matches up with recent budgets going back to 2007.
__________________________________________________________________________

INDIANA SCHOOL FUNDING INCREASES FOR THE PAST SEVEN BUDGETS
Source: The summary cover page from the General Assembly’s School Formulas for each budget
Prepared by Dr. Vic Smith, 4-26-19

When the school funding formulas are passed every two years by the General Assembly, legislators see the bottom line percentage increases on a summary page. Figures that have appeared on this summary are listed below for the last seven budgets that I have personally observed as they were approved by the legislature.

Tuition support and dollar increases have been rounded to the nearest 10 million dollars.


Total funding and percentage increases were taken directly from the School Funding Formula summary page. Sometimes in the first year of two budget years, the previous budget amount was not fully spent and the adjusted lowered base was used by the General Assembly to calculate the percentage increase.


Here is How Republican Leaders Added Up New Money for K-12 Education to Equal $763 Million

Keep in mind that when counting new money, the new money for the first year must be repeated in the second year as the base for an additional increase. Thus, the new money in the 2019 budget is 178 million for a 2.5% increase in the first year plus 178 million to match that increase for the second year plus 183 million to raise the second year by 2.5%.

That totals to $539 million.

Then the Governor’s plan to reduce pension payments by $150 million over two years was enacted.
Adding $150 million raises the total to $689 million.

Then categorical funding for specific programs like the Teacher Appreciation Fund received $74 million in new money.

Adding $74 million raises the total to the number you have heard: $763 million.


What is a 70% Voucher?

Most taxpayers have never heard of a 70% voucher. It appeared suddenly in the House budget without discussion or debate. Senator Mishler and Senator Bassler did not include it in the Senate budget approved by the Appropriations Committee, but on the floor of the Senate, the 70% voucher was put back in the budget by the Republican caucus on a second reading amendment using a voice vote. No roll call record is available of who supported this move toward more privatization of education in Indiana.

Here are the details:
  • The historic legislative fight in 2011 over the original voucher bill established a 90% voucher for families of four currently making $46,000 or less. This means that 90% of the per student support for a public school student goes to the parent to pay for private school tuition.
  • A 50% voucher was established for families of four currently making $69,000.
  • Now, for the first time in the eight year history of vouchers, $19 million more money will go to a new concept: a 70% voucher to families of four making between $46,000 and $57,500, while families between $57,500 and $69,000 would still receive a 50% voucher from Indiana taxpayers.
  • This would probably not add many students to the voucher count but would give significantly more money to the parents making between $46,000 and $57,500 who already have students in the voucher program.
  • The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency says the newly proposed 70% voucher would cost an extra $7.7 million in the first year of the budget.
  • It would cost $11.3 million in the second year.
  • Adding these two years together, this 70% voucher would cost taxpayers $19 million.
  • The 70% voucher was not debated in any bill but just appeared in the budget. The secrecy of how this concept appeared is stunning. In eight years, it has never before been proposed.
  • Giving more money to voucher parents was not the General Assembly’s stated priority. No case was made that this 70% voucher solves any problem. It received no debate or public review. It was a total surprise when it showed up in the budget. This program has undercut the priority on more money for teacher pay.
Let legislators know that you strongly oppose the passage of the 70% voucher and that you think it undermines the effort to make more money available for teacher raises.


What are School Scholarships?

School Scholarships, not to be confused with Choice Scholarships, are scholarships for students to attend private schools given out by Scholarship Granting Organizations that collect donations for these scholarships, donations which give donors a 50% tax credit when taxes are filed.
  • In the first year, the budget for tax credits was raised by $1 million to total $15 million.
  • In the second year, the budget for tax credits went up another $1.5 million to $16.5 million.
  • The two-year budget total for private school scholarships in $31.5 million. That is $3.5 million higher than in the 2017 budget.
  • In this little known program, the Scholarship Granting Organizations can now raise $30 million next year for private school scholarships and $15 million (50%) will be returned to donors at tax time.
  • Here is the amazing part: There is no limit on the size of the donation. Wealthy donors who want to direct all of their tax obligation to private schools can do that and get 50% back as a tax credit. Donors to Indiana colleges are limited to a $200 tax credit for individuals, but there is no individual limit for School Scholarship donations. It is the most generous tax credit available in Indiana.
  • The School Scholarship law says that Scholarship Granting Organizations can keep 10% of their donations for administrative overhead. If donations total $30 million and use up the $15 million in tax credits, the SGO’s can keep $3 million, which is 10% of the total. It’s a lucrative business.
  • School Scholarships have raised the number of students receiving Choice Scholarships (vouchers). The voucher law was changed in 2013 under Governor Pence to say that if a student gets a School Scholarship one year, they can get a Choice Scholarship (voucher) the next year. This has been the mechanism for why so many voucher students (now 58%) have never even tried out a public school. They receive a voucher but they have been in a private school all along.
Your messages to legislators during this budget session clearly made a difference. Let your legislators know how you feel about the various provisions of the final budget.

Grassroots support of public schools makes all the difference. Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana!


Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support the ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand represented ICPE extremely well during the 2018 session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #336 – April 12, 2019

Dear Friends,

Attention all who support public education!

You are invited to a rally in support of better funding for K-12 education. We need you!
When: Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 3:00 pm

Where: Indiana Statehouse South Atrium

Coordinated by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education

Event partners: AFT Indiana, Concerned Clergy, Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), Indiana Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

Everyone is encouraged to join us!
Stand up for public education! Let legislators know you care about K-12 funding in the two-year budget.

Raise the Priority in Support of K-12 Funding

We need your presence to put top priority on better funding for our K-12 students in the new budget.

Here’s the picture:
  • In January, the Governor recommended K-12 increases of 2% in the first year ($143 million) and 2% in the second year ($146 million).
  • In February, the House recommended K-12 increases of 2.1% in the first year ($154 million) and 2.2% in the second year ($160 million).
  • Yesterday, April 12, the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Mishler, recommended K-12 increases of 2.7% in the first year ($192 million) and 2.2% in the second year ($162 million).
  • The Indiana Coalition for Public Education and other public education advocates have recommended K-12 increases of 3% in the first year ($210 million) and 3% in the second year ($230 million).
  • Indiana K-12 students and teachers deserve more financial support to maintain strong student programs and to keep strong teachers from leaving the state or changing careers.
There is no guarantee that the final budget will include the better numbers from the Senate.
  • The House and Senate now have to negotiate their differences in a conference committee.
  • If they simply split the difference, our K-12 students could lose support.
  • The Senate budget deleted the 70% voucher which cost $19 million, but the House will likely try to put it back in.
  • The Senate budget deleted the $47 million expansion of charter school grants, but the House will likely want to revive it.
  • The Senate expanded tax credits for private school scholarships by $3 million over 2 years, while the House expanded them by $5 million. We don’t need any expansion of tax credits for private schools! They are already funded at $14 million each year.
We need you on April 16th to help send a message: Our K-12 students and teachers need even more support than the Senate version!

The members of the General Assembly need to hear from you the parents, the taxpayers and the educators of Indiana about supporting better K-12 funding.

Will you join us? Will you bring friends and family? Will you wear red for public ed?

The rally will feature a welcome by Dr. Jennifer McCormick, our last elected State Superintendent of Public Education. Key speakers representing our partner groups will follow. The moderator will be Joel Hand, the Indiana Coalition for Public Education attorney and lobbyist.

Make plans now to join us next Tuesday April 16th to support our K-12 students.

A printable flyer for you to share with friends, family and colleagues is available at the ICPE website:

www.icpe2011.com

Please pass the word!

Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support the ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand represented ICPE extremely well during the 2018 session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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