Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #318 – March 13, 2018

Dear Friends,

The final day of the short session is tomorrow, and the final version of House Bill 1315 is still up in the air.

However it comes out, it will still have to be approved by both the House and the Senate.

If you have not contacted your legislators about your opposition yet, give it one more shot tonight or Wednesday. It looks like it will be one of the last bills to be voted on Wednesday evening, the last night of the session.

Tell your legislators or any legislators:
  • Non-residents should not be on public school boards!
Outsiders should not be allowed to be voting members of the Muncie public school board. This precedent would dismantle a core principle of public education.
  • Every public school district should have a school board!
Give the Gary public school district the dignity of having a school board like every other school district for the past 200 years, even while an emergency manager holds all the powers of the school board to correct mismanagement.
Tell them they must not pass a bill that takes down another pillar of public education. That pillar says:

Every public school district should be run by a school board of district residents.

Yet another pillar of public education in Indiana is in jeopardy.

The Meeting of the Conference Committee on HB 1315

Concerns about appointing non-resident school board members and losing the voice of citizens were clear themes in statements from legislators and those testifying at yesterday’s (March 12th) Conference Committee meeting.

Senator Lanane said: “We are taking away the democracy of the people of Muncie in this bill.”

Senator Tallian said: “We are dismantling public schools” by adding a “university-run alternative” to the long list of alternative schools the General Assembly has created, to the point where we no longer “provide a uniform system of common schools” as Article 8 of our Constitution says we must do.

Representative Vernon Smith called having non-residents on the school board a “terrible decision” and said we should “keep the school board in Gary.”

Senator Melton said Ball State University could help Muncie schools “without legislation.”

Representative Tim Brown, chair of the Conference Committee, allowed all members of the public to speak who wished to do so. Eight took advantage of the opportunity.

My testimony that I gave can be found HERE.

This bill is not just about Muncie and Gary. It sets precedents for all Indiana public school districts. We need your participation!

If you have not done so already, contact your own House member and Senator or other legislators about House Bill 1315. The results of your work will be known tomorrow.

Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is again representing ICPE in the new budget session which began on January 3, 2017. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

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. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana.


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