In an unusual turn of events, the Indiana General Assembly did conclude the regular short session on time and several key bills did not pass. As a result, the Governor called for a special session on May 14th to pass four bills that had been signed out of conference committee but not passed by both houses. Those bills were: 1316ss, 1315ss, 1230ss, 1242ss, and 1457ss.
By far the most controversial was 1315ss, which calls for the elimination of the Gary and Muncie school boards from elected boards to advisory boards. Ball State University also was put in place to run the Muncie Community School Corporation with all accountability measures heretofore in place for all public, private and charter schools in Indiana, but eliminated for Muncie. It also allows for a zero-interest loan to allow for Muncie to regain fiscal solvency.
The bill also created fiscal indicators for all Indiana school districts to be overseen by the Indiana Distressed Unit Appeals Board (DUAB). Schools not meeting the fiscal indicators will be placed on a watch list and assisted by DUAB to develop an improvement plan. A great deal of trepidation is associated with the bill should the information become public and ruin the reputation of the district and cause harm in losing the communities’ support.
IAPSS will develop its legislative priorities with the use of a survey of the members who will indicate their issues to be developed in the 2019 General Assembly session. The survey will be released in early June. IAPSS thanks Karl Galey, Superintendent, Lawrenceburg Community Schools and Dr. Robert Taylor, Superintendent, Lebanon Community Schools, in their roles as chairmen of the Legislative and Policy and Resolutions Committees who will meet and develop these positions on behalf of the association. Once determined the entire association will hear the priorities at the IAPSS/ISBA Fall conference and ask to vote on them. Once approved, they will be sent to all legislators prior to the convening of the General Assembly.
IAPSS wishes all school districts a smooth conclusion to the 2017-18 school year. Our thoughts and hearts go out to any school district affected by gun violence in the past school year. Schools are to be safe havens for our children and we should never have a need to worry about our children when we send them to school. How did we ever get to this situation with so many acts of violence in our schools?