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House Debates Funding for Virtual Charters, Private Schools

February 2, 2010

Charter schools became a heated topic of discussion Monday in the Indiana House of Representatives, as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle debated changes to a proposed education funding bill. Authored by Representative Gregory Porter of Indianapolis, the bill aims to reform how charter schools are operated and trim spending from the state education budget. Lawmakers attempted some compromise, removing most of the restraints on new charter schools. But opponents of the bill don’t think that the compromise went far enough. They want scholarship funding for low income families to sent their children to private and virtual schools. Some, like Representative Wes Culver of Goshen see that as a way to save money.

“The way of the future is for us to cut costs in our public schools, and we can do this virtually. We can have recorded classes. We can have some of the classes done at home so we don’t have to keep putting our money into bricks and morter.”

Those in favor of the delay, like Representative Vernon Smith of Gary, believe current cuts in education funding, combined with new spending on programs like virtual charters and private school scholarships, will further strain current funding for Hoosier public schools. The House is expected to take a final vote on the bill today or tomorrow. If it’s approved, the bill would move to the Senate.

-Brian Flood

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