Monday, April 17, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #294 – April 16, 2017

Dear Friends,

Come to the Statehouse rally for K-12 funding on Tuesday afternoon, April 18th! Come to the rally at 3:30pm in the North Atrium. Carry a message to your legislator that Indiana can do better for our K-12 students!

If you can’t come but are concerned about funding for our K-12 students, send a friend or a family member who can be there Tuesday afternoon. Indiana’s K-12 students need your voices!

  • We need parents who are concerned about sufficient support for their child’s school in the budget and the potential need to close schools. Indiana PTA is co-sponsoring the rally.
  • We need educators and retired educators who are concerned about meager per student increases and the potential for budget cuts and higher class sizes.
  • We need community leaders and business leaders who know that strong public schools are the centerpiece of strong communities and that they need stable funding that at least keeps up with inflation.
Make a statement in support of public education funding in the crucial two-year budget!

There are excellent reasons for doing so:

Reason #1: To support the additional $85 million K-12 dollars in the Senate budget when compared with the House budget! $85 million!

The Senate budget gives a $358 million increase to K-12 over two years, while the House gives $273 million over two years, a difference of $85 million dollars for our K-12 students!

If negotiations between House and Senate split the difference, our K-12 students could lose over $40 million.

Make a statement on Tuesday to your legislators that our K-12 students need all of that $85 million or more!

Indiana is NOT still in the Great Recession and our K-12 students should not be treated as if we are. The 1.1% increase proposed by the House is what K-12 suffered through during the Great Recession!

The new revenue forecast issued April 12th said Indiana may receive an additional $200 million in revenue compared with the previous forecast. Funding our K-12 students should be a high priority for this money.

Special note: By Monday evening, you will find posted on the ICPE website messages customized for every Indiana public school district ready to be delivered and discussed with your legislators. Check out the website: These messages should help in your efforts to maximize funding for your local K-12 students.

Reason #2: To oppose raising private school tax credit scholarships by 31%!

In the current year of 2016-17, $9.5 million of your tax dollars has been given to pay for tax credits for donations to private school scholarships, called School Scholarships, under a law passed in 2009.

These School Scholarships, which should not be confused with vouchers called Choice Scholarships, are given out to any private school students whose family makes under $89,900, hardly a low income.

They are the secret sauce in getting many students who have always been in private schools on the taxpayer’s tab because a loophole was written into the voucher law saying that if a student has received a School Scholarship during one year, they are eligible for a voucher the next year. That’s how we have ended up with 54% of all vouchers being given to students who have always gone to private schools.

Now both House and Senate budgets call for a raise from $9.5 million to $12.5 million each year in the two-year budget, a 31% raise that gives $6 million more dollars that could be repurposed for public school support.

In addition, the budget enables automatic increases each year above the $12.5 level if the donations reach the total available. Automatic increases for private school scholarships? Public school programs never get automatic increases! This is just wrong!

Make a statement on Tuesday to your legislators that a 31% increase for private school tax credit scholarships and automatic increases are wrong!

Reason #3: To support transparency in the Senate budget showing a line item for private school vouchers for the first time!

The Senate budget for the first time shows a separate line item for private school vouchers. This allows all to see how much the voucher program is projected to cost each year. From the current 2016-17 figure of $146 million, the Senate budget projects $156 million for 2017-18 and $167 million for 2018-19. The open transparency of having a separate line item to debate is an important step forward, and it is strongly opposed by leaders of the House of Representatives.

Make a statement on Tuesday to your legislators that we must have the transparency of a line item for vouchers to enable an informed budget debate.
Everyone is encouraged to come to the Statehouse rally!
When: Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 3:30 pm

Where: Indiana Statehouse North Atrium

Theme: “K-12 Public School Funding: Indiana Can Do Better”

Co-sponsored by: Indiana Coalition for Public Education & Indiana PTA

Rally partners: (known by me to date; more may be coming)
Indiana AFT
Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association
Indiana Urban Schools Association
Stand up for public education! Let legislators know you care about K-12 funding in the two-year budget.

The members of the General Assembly need to hear from you the parents, the taxpayers and the educators of Indiana about supporting better K-12 funding.

Will you join us? Will you bring friends and family?

Download this printable flyer, or click the image below, to share with friends, family and colleagues.Please pass the word!

Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is again representing ICPE in the new budget session which began on January 3, 2017. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana.


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