Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #138– April 24, 2013

Dear Friends,

The final versions of the budget bill and the voucher expansion bill were not unveiled today in the Statehouse. Closed door meetings were the order of the day. Here are my observations from Wednesday afternoon in the Statehouse:
  • First we heard the budget would be available tonight, and then it changed to noon tomorrow, Thursday. They will observe a 24 hour rule before voting on the budget. The only news from the budget that leaked out was that it would pay off the loans taken out by charter schools from the Common School Fund, costing around $74 million. The budget will dominate tomorrow’s news. Adjournment of the session is set for Friday night.
  • No conference committee report appeared on voucher expansion, HB 1003, despite the headline story in this morning’s Indianapolis Star saying that a final vote could come today. This could be a sign of disagreements between House and Senate conferees over final details. Joel Hand and I shared the attached handout with legislators today, reminding them of the problems of including D and F schools in the distribution of vouchers. Feel free to use the handout in your efforts.
Keep sending messages to legislators about your opposition to vouchers, especially to Senators! Once again, the vote will be close in the Senate. Final votes on HB 1003 could come Thursday afternoon or Friday.
  • Speaker Bosma announced to the media today that he and Gov. Pence now want to slow down the implementation of Common Core long enough for a thorough review. He wants to resurrect House Bill 1427 to do so. A dissent on HB 1427 was filed today leading to the appointment of a conference committee which should provide specifics about this effort tomorrow (Thursday). I am wondering why this effort wasn’t started last week when last-minute rules changes would not have been necessary. Rules were changed today saying that bills except the budget could now be acted upon after legislators have four hours to review them.
  • The conference committee report on HB 1338, charter school administration and the A-F revision, seems to be headed for action tomorrow. It seems unlikely that Rep. Behning’s plan to put A-F labels in law and to revise the A-F system by attaching the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s revision of Public Law 221 to the charter school bill will be derailed.
  • House Bill 1381, the public school transfer bill sponsored by Rep. Karickoff passed the House today 77-19. It now goes to the Senate for the final vote on the conference committee version.
The fact that legislators have wrangled this long about the final version of the voucher bill shows that your messages have had an impact. Keep them up! You have made this a very contentious issue.

Let your Senator and Representative know that using the failed A-F system to give vouchers to 18% of Indiana’s school attendance areas is wrong. It will unfairly impact too many schools that were graded unjustly. They should vote HB 1003 down until a revised A-F system is in place that has validity in the eyes of the public. Friday is the last day, so send your final thoughts now!
Thanks for standing up for the public school students of Indiana!

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 working hard against voucher expansion during conference committees, we need all members from last year to renew and we need new members who support public education. Please join us! Thanks to all who have joined or sent extra donations recently!

Go to 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.

No comments: