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Panel nixes transportation aid for charter schools

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An Indiana Senate panel eliminated part of a proposal on Wednesday that would have required traditional public schools to help provide transportation to students attending charter schools.

The Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee approved the change, which makes the legislation aimed at expanding charter schools more palatable to traditional public schools. Some traditional school districts said it would have been too expensive to help provide transportation to charter schools, which are public schools free of many state regulations and, often, teacher union contracts.

The committee also made some other changes before approving the bill, such as taking away the ability for mayors of smaller cities to authorize charter schools. Supporters said smaller cities may not have the resources to provide rigorous oversight of charter schools.

"I think all of our goals need to be raising the achievement of students," said Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary. "There is a balance that can be struck between charters and traditional public schools. With these amendments what we do is create an atmosphere in which both can accomplish what their missions are."

The goal of the bill — which is part of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels' sweeping education agenda — is to expand charter schools and give families more education options. The bill would create a state board to authorize more charter schools, and would give authorizing authority to private colleges and universities. Currently only the mayor of Indianapolis and public universities that offer four-year degrees can sponsor charter schools.

The bill would also allow charter schools to buy or lease for $1 a year unused buildings owned by traditional school corporations. And it would increase accountability for charters, providing penalties for chronically underperforming charter schools.

The Education Committee voted 8-2 for the amended bill, which next heads to another Senate committee for consideration.

The changes made Wednesday may complicate the bill's future because any changes would have to win approval from the GOP-led House before becoming law. Democrats are currently boycotting the House, and could put the bill in jeopardy if they continue to do so long term. Charter school supporters are hopeful that that won't happen, however, and House Democrats say the charter school legislation is not one of the main bills they are trying to derail with their boycott.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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