Unbelievably, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amended version of House Bill 1315 this morning that still allows Ball State to ignore the mandated patriotic curriculum laws (IC 20-30-5) as Ball State runs the Muncie public schools.
It is hard to understand why Ball State needs the flexibility to ignore the citizenship mandates of 20-30-5 for each school to:
These mandates to study citizenship lie at the heart of public education. The General Assembly even requires that private voucher schools follow the mandates of 20-30-5 under the voucher law!
Why wouldn't Ball State be required to include citizenship mandates when they take over the Muncie public schools?
This oversight can be corrected with a second reading amendment if Senators hear from enough public school advocates who believe that citizenship education is vital for all public schools.
Please contact your Senator and Senator Long, President Pro Tem, to ask them to guarantee Ball State will not ignore citizenship instruction mandated in IC 20-30-5.
HB 1315 says "Muncie Community school corporation is subject only to" a list of 28 laws from the Indiana Code 20 on education. Senators should make 20-30-5 the 29th law to follow!
Other Concerns about HB 1315
Here is an update on the other three concerns shared in my previous Statehouse Notes #314:
Don't let non-residents run public school districts. Ask Senators to return the public to the Muncie public schools by requiring that not just two but all seven members "reside within the boundaries of the Muncie school corporation district."
Some changes in the right direction were made today, but the changes fall short of the goal to have all Muncie school board members to be residents of the Muncie school district.
The bill now says that the two board member seats currently guaranteed to residents will become elected seats in 2022.
Also two of the five board members appointed by the Ball State trustees must be residents of the district.
This change raises the total number who must reside in the district from two to four.
Three may still be non-residents.
The rationale for making Muncie the first public school district in Indiana to have non-residents on its public school board is still a mystery. Voting on property tax issues doesn't make sense for non-resident board members.
Please urge Senators to change this bill to put residents on the school board for all seven seats!
Don't eliminate the school board but rather return the voice of the community to the school board after corrective actions have been completed by an emergency manager. Ask Senators to maintain the institution of the school board for all public school districts so that when financial distress and debt problems have been resolved by an emergency manager, local control can be returned to the local community through a school board, an institution that has stood the test of time.
This concern is still an issue also. The amended bill changed the name of the new entity from "advisory committee" to "advisory board." Eliminating the Gary School Board sets a precedent we don't need. The school board's power has already been ended while the emergency manager makes corrections.
Please urge Senators to maintain the institution of the school board even while deficit and debt problems are resolved by an emergency manager.
Don't permit preliminary discussions of watch lists in public meetings when they haven't been vetted and certified. Ask Senators to amend the fiscal indicators section of HB 1315 to permit the Distressed Unit Appeal Board (DUAB) to consider "watch lists" in confidential executive sessions so that no district will prematurely get a black eye in the public's mind until accuracy has been certified.
The committee repaired this part of the bill to keep fiscal problems confidential until accuracy is confirmed. Senators should be thanked for their work on this problem.
The positive changes noted above were contained in an amendment authored by Chairman Mishler which passed on a party line vote.
Democrats on the committee offered five amendments to make additional changes, one of which would have reduced the bill to the section on fiscal indicators for all schools and let Muncie and Gary proceed according to the law written last year. All five amendments failed on a party line vote, 4-9.
The amended bill passed 9-4 on a party line vote.
Take Action about HB 1315 As Soon As Possible
We need your voice to contact Senators about HB 1315 regarding amendments!
I urge you to contact your Senator or any Senator
Vic Smith firstname.lastname@example.org