When lawmakers implemented property tax caps back in 2008, it cut down the amount of tax money that could be distributed to school districts and fundamentally changed the way public schools in Indiana are financed.
One of the referenda passed for Elkhart Community Schools will fund transportation costs to put more school buses on the road.
Shortfalls in revenue for some school corporations have led to an increase in the pursuit for funding through referenda. Just last week, voters in nine separate districts saw referenda on their primary election ballots – and all but one said “yes” to the proposed changes.
Nine out of 10 referenda passing in one election cycle is a better rate than the state has been seeing in recent years. Since November of 2008, Indiana has tried 102 school-related referenda and about half have passed.
“Well, we’re fortunate we have 30 minutes of professional development every day before school starts,” says Eastern Howard Superintendent Tracy Caddell. “So we’ll be able to adapt, but there will be quite a few schools out there who don’t have the luxury of daily professional development, so I think it’s gonna be a struggle to implement them for the next school year.” Continue Reading →
“I’ve pledged consistently that we’re going to write standards in Indiana that are written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, and are uncommonly high,” says Pence. “And we are deep into a completely transparent process and public process to do that.”
“Children that are a finishing this year will finish under the existing Indiana standards, so teachers and students as well as, obviously, their families should not anticipate any changes moving towards the end of this calendar year,” says Lou Ann Baker, spokesman for Pence’s Center for Education and Career Innovation.
Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, sits on the Indiana Senate Education Committee and chairs the Appropriations Committee.
“This,” says Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, referring to a proposed preschool program, “is almost a potential budget buster.”
Gov. Mike Pence asked state lawmakers this year to approve a small-scale preschool pilot program for low-income 4-year-olds. But Kenley, who chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, says he’s not ready to commit to state-funded pre-K.
Halfway between Louisville and Evansville on the Ohio River are two small cities: Tiny Tell City, Ind., and the even tinier Cannelton. Cannelton’s only three miles upstream from Tell City — but it can seem like it’s worlds apart.
“Here’s some old buildings, just sitting here, empty,” says Cannelton City Schools superintendent Al Sibbitt as he drives down Washington Street. Continue Reading →
Cannelton City Schools was in 'complete disarray' when Al Sibbitt took over two years ago. The 72-year-old part-time superintendent has had to implement steep cuts to keep the district going, but revenues are still drying up.
At 72, Al Sibbitt doesn’t need to be working. But his part-time job still keeps him up nights.
“Where can I cut a few dollars here?” the Cannelton City Schools superintendent will ask himself when he can’t sleep. “Where can I save a few dollars there?”
Draper, Inc., in Spiceland is the largest private employer in Henry County, manufacturing various equipment for schools.
The Draper, Inc., plant in Spiceland might have been the birthplace of your school’s gymnasium.
The manufacturer actually makes all kinds of equipment for schools, from window shades to projection systems. Look one way and you’ll see a basketball hoop hanging from the ceiling. Look another direction, and you’ll see wall padding stacked on a pallet.
“I’ll sell a lot of these to Saudi Arabia,” says Nate LaMar, who manages international sales.
Any equipment Draper employees use to make these products in its 400,000 square foot plant in Spiceland — from staple guns to forklifts — is subject to Indiana’s business personal property tax. It’s not just manufacturing equipment; office supplies and computers are taxed too.
“Are they going to put in that oversight if they’re giving vouchers? Is that oversight any good?” says Ann Rosen, co-director of the Family Connection, a non-profit that provides teacher assessments to pre-K providers in St. Joseph County.
Glenwood Leadership Academy fourth grade teacher Amber Santana leads her students in multiplication drills while pacing across their desktops. Santana is in her second year at the school.
Her shoes kicked off, a white board in hand, teacher Amber Santana is leading multiplication drills with her fourth graders at Evansville’s Glenwood Leadership Academy — while standing on their desks.
Standing just outside the third-year teacher’s room, Glenwood principal Tamara Skinner smiles.
“I realize that’s a bit unorthodox,” Skinner says, but Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation leaders say that’s the kind of vitality they hope to see in its staff — vitality that’s key to turning the troubled school around.
Teachers were burning out when Skinner took the principal’s job at Glenwood last school year. The school had a discipline problem. Its student body turns over often as kids from the largely-poor neighborhoods on Evansville’s south side moved from school to school.