*The map above shows school corporations that meet the criteria laid out in committee that resulted in the Muncie School Corporation’s proposed state take over.
Update: On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved House Bill 1315 with a few changes. Those changes include, but are not limited to:
- Retains the Gary School Board as an elected advisory board rather than a committee
- Allows the Board to keep their appointment to the Fiscal Management Board
- Requires the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Academic Officer to submit a report, quarterly, to the Board
HB 1315 will now head to the Senate floor where further amendments can be made and must be voted on by Tuesday, March 5, in order to become law.
On Thursday, State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) and State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) held a media availability to warn Hoosiers of the potential for widespread state takeovers of school districts that could result if House Bill (HB) 1315 is approved by the Senate and signed into law by the governor.
Dozens of constituents from Gary and Muncie, the cities most immediately affected by this proposal, rallied in the Statehouse to voice their opposition to HB 1315, citing the need for local control of school corporations to remain intact.
During the press conference, Sen. Melton referred to Senate Enrolled Act 567 that took effect less than eight months ago to assign an Emergency Manager to oversee the Gary Community School Corporation and address financial concerns. While little time has passed for Gary to utilize the provisions laid out in last year’s legislation, the school corporation has already shaved $4 million off its annual deficit, showing current efforts are working. Despite this improvement, the state is already intervening again, further stripping the Gary School Board of any decision-making authority and limiting how often it can meet publicly with parents and teachers.
“Despite teachers and the community taking positive action over the last year to address financial issues, House Bill 1315 will remove the voice of local Gary residents from all policymaking,” Sen. Melton said. “Gary voters will not be disenfranchised from this state, and we should have a voice in the matters that affect us.”
Sen. Tallian, Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee where the bill is currently up for consideration, continued the press conference, declaring the Muncie portion of the bill an act of “appalling arrogance by the GOP to take away the rights of Hoosiers.”
HB 1315 allows the power of the state to dismantle the locally-elected school board and turn the school district over to Ball State University to manage, an experiment that has never been done in any other state, let alone in Indiana. Sen. Tallian called on her colleagues and the governor to do what’s right and say “no” to HB 1315.