We are mid-way through the Indiana General Assembly short session for 2018. The session began with 438 Senate bills and 425 house bills. Both the House education and Senate education committees were very particular about the bills they were allowing to be introduced in their respective committees.
As with all General Assembly convenings, there were some interesting bills submitted. We expected some and some were unexpected. With an election looming in May, we were told bills would not be controversial and they wanted to adjourn early. Well, it appears neither is going to happen.
The good news: we had bills introduced to correct a short fall in transfer tuition due to an unexpected influx of students and we had bills introduced to fix the diploma issues, and we can now have students wear sun screen in school for recess. Four school district superintendents formed a coalition of schools that allow them greater flexibility from legislative actions as a pilot program.
The interesting news: we had a bill introduced to dictate when school was to start in the fall, we now have cursive writing in the curriculum, a bill was introduced to allow student journalist unfettered ability to write whatever they wanted without administrative oversight, seat belts on buses, legislated discipline policy, and net metering for solar panels installed in schools. We have a bill that will place school districts on a financial watch list and Muncie Community Schools being taken over by Ball State University.
Although bills that dealt with funding and money were not heard in this session, we will be watchful of bills sure to come that will increase vouchers, Scholarship Granting Organizations with significant tax credits for private and parochial school tuitions, educational savings accounts, and other means of creating taxpayer dollars to be used for private and parochial school tuitions.
The refreshing news: We are looking forward to the AASA National Education Conference in Nashville, TN in mid-February. In addition to great professional development, we are hopeful our first Indiana national finalist for superintendent of the year will also be crowned the National Superintendent of the Year. We are so proud of Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent, Dr. Wendy Robinson. We wish her luck.