Indiana lawmakers move forward with bill to share school referendum funds with charters

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School districts would be required to share future referendum funding with charter schools under a bill approved by a House committee on Thursday.

Proponents say it will help fill charter funding shortfalls, but critics fear it will stifle future referendum attempts.

House Bill 1072 would only apply to referendums on school operations or safety passed after June 2022. Basically, if a student lives within the boundaries of a school district but attends a charter school , the district must send a portion of its referendum funding to the charter that enrolls that student.

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Charter school leaders, including Catherine Diersing of Bloomington, said it would help them compete with districts’ teacher salaries, allowing them to recruit and retain more teachers.

“Traditional public school districts have simply overtaken small public charter schools, especially in terms of what we can afford to pay,” she said.

But representatives of traditional public schools, administrators and teachers’ unions have said they oppose the bill. Many have expressed concern that this could confuse voters or cause some to vote against a referendum. They also said the bill did not include enough accountability for taxpayers.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved the bill after making some changes based on public testimony. The bill now heads to the floor of the House.

Contact journalist Jeanie at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

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