Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #131– April 9, 2013

Dear Friends,

An immediate message to Senators is needed opposing a new amendment to the voucher expansion bill that will give a fivefold increase to the tax deduction for home school and private school parents. The vote will be this afternoon (Tuesday). Let your Senator know of your outrage that they might give an increase of $10 million to private school parents when professional development and preschool get $0 in the new budget.

House Bill 1003 - Amendment 13

Second reading amendments will be voted on this afternoon for the voucher expansion bill. It is the last day for bills on second reading. The final vote on the bill will be tomorrow (Wednesday).

Sen. Pat Miller has authored Amendment 13 which would expand the tax deduction for home school and private school expenses from $1000 to $5000. The current $1000 deducation, authored by Sen. Miller in 2011, equates to a savings of $34 dollars on each tax return. LSA has reported that this cost Indiana $2.7 million dollars last year. Now Sen. Miller wants to multiply this benefit by five, which means it would cost taxpayers $13 million, an increase of $10 million dollars over the current program.

There are many education programs that don’t get $10 million: alternative schools, the Non-English Speaking Fund, the Senator David Ford technology fund. It is amazing to think the Senate would raise the payments to private school parents while ignoring these other vital programs. It could happen however, perhaps to secure Sen. Miller’s vote in the final vote on Wednesday, if many Senators do not hear your calls and messages of outrage by this afternoon.

The message is: Vote No on Amendment 13 on House Bill 1003! Thanks for all you do for public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE is working to promote public education and oppose privatization of schools in the Statehouse. I keep hearing reports that some public school supporters read these “Notes” with great interest but don’t translate that interest into joining ICPE. To keep our outstanding lobbyist Joel Hand in place, who is vigorously working against voucher expansion in the Senate, we need all members from last year to renew and we need new members who support public education. Please join us!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information.

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.

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