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Charter Schools to Fund Own Transportation

Indiana’s public schools will not be required to help fund charter school transportation after the Indiana Senate Education Committee amended the bill Wednesday.

In its original form, the charter school bill would have required transportation funds for public schools, to be re-allocated to help fund an expanded charter school systems transportation needs.

The Project School, a Bloomington charter on South Walnut St., will now need to continue paying nearly $50,000 a year to the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington to use their buses and help hire drivers.

“We’re not required to provide transportation,” said Head Leader Daniel Baron, “but we do provide transportation to many of our kids, and that comes out of our tuition support, so its money that could otherwise be spent on teaching and learning.”

State Senator Earline Rogers from Gary, where 27% of kids attend charter schools, said now is not the right time to stretch out state education budgets.

Jeff Baldwin, Executive Director of the Bloomington Boys and Girls Club, said the arrangement with The Project School has allowed him to keep his professional staff out from behind the wheel of a bus.

“Unit directors, and program directors and camp athletic director, all three were driving for our transportation program, thus keeping them out of programming for about an hour a day each.”

Baldwin said the agreement, now in its second year, is working great. The Project School, however, would ideally like to put that money to other use.

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