HB 1324 would enable the state to take over some public schools and public school corporations by handing them off to private companies to manage. HB 1324 would enable a state takeover through private company management of an existing public school as soon as the second year after the school is placed in one of the two lower performance categories. Worse, this quick takeover would be accomplished through what will likely be less than a 51 percent threshold of parent petitioners.
"Indiana's original accountability laws envisioned meaningful interventions to assist schools facing challenges," said Nate Schnellenberger, ISTA president. "HB 1324 ignores assistance and instead imposes punishment by forever stripping local property taxpayers from having a direct voice in their community public schools."
“What would be even more devastating to communities is their permanent loss of the entire school district which emerged through a committee amendment. In its new form, HB 1324 would not only allow for school takeovers by privately run companies, it would allow for state takeovers of entire school districts by privately run management companies, dissolving elected school boards and replacing them with appointees by the State Board of Education (SBE).
HB 1324 gives the SBE sweeping control over local school communities but continues to require local taxpayers to pay for the buildings over which they would have no control or influence. Ultimately, under the bill, these schools and districts would become what are called "independent schools" with no possibility of ever rejoining their community school district.
Although it's difficult to predict with complete certainty which schools or districts might be affected by these provisions, last Friday the Department of Education (DOE) did disseminate to local superintendents and principals a listing of schools and school districts depicting what would have been their respective performance grades for the 2010-11 school year had the DOE/SBE’s currently proposed accountability grading system been in place. Based on their own assessment, 22 percent of the 1790 schools (405 schools) and 12 percent of the 290 school districts (36 districts) would have received a grade of D or F. Link to attached documents.
“Since all of these sanctions rest on the validity of the grading system itself, and that grading system is yet to even be fleshed out, let alone approved, HB 1324 puts the cart before the horse,” added Schnellenberger.
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Don’t hesitate to call if that works best. HOUSE SWITCHBOARD: 800-382-9842 or 317-232-9600.
xposted at EAEA