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Legislative Update, Jan. 12

The second week of the 2018 legislative session has ended, and the week was quiet with few hearings on education-related bills. Bills continue to be released, although the bill filing deadline passed on Tuesday. Look for action to pick up next week as committee work gets underway. Check our bill watch page to stay updated.

Join ISTA members and public education advocates for ISTA's Legislative Kickoff on Jan. 17 to learn about ISTA's legislative priorities for the 2018 legislative session. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick will make a special guest appearance.



HB 1001 and SB 189
K-12 School Funding

These two bills would provide additional funding to schools due to a shortfall caused by an increased number of students enrolling in our traditional public schools. Both bills unanimously passed out of committee this week and will likely move out of their respective chambers next week.

Why you should care
The state currently has an estimated shortfall of $11.8 million in school funding and special needs student enrollment has yet to be certified. Without additional funding, schools would have to make unexpected cuts to programs and other cost cutting measures.

What you can do
Contact your legislators and let them know you support these bills.


HB 1315 (Rep. Tim Brown - Crawfordsville)
School Financial Management

Legislators are continuing their concerns from last session about the state of some school districts' finances. Last session Muncie and Gary schools were ordered into state takeover, disbanding their elected school boards and replaced by privately run emergency managers.

HB 1315 takes last session's actions to a whole new level. The bill would put schools with the "potential" of becoming financially impaired or financially distressed on notice. The bill would also hold classroom teachers responsible for the state of a districts' finances by allowing them to be fired, less than three months into a job, as well as breaking the collective voice of educators by disbanding local teacher associations.

A hearing for this bill has not been scheduled.

Why you should care
Classroom teachers and their students should be the last resort when it comes to cost cutting. When a school district is in fiscal trouble, the first course of state action should not be about casting misplaced blame on service providers.

What you can do
Tell your legislators that there shouldn't be such a rush to punishment. Legislators should take a step back and start this discussion about the fiscal viability of school districts and finding and sharing data on schools' finances.


SB 303 (Sen. Jeff Raatz - Richmond)
Various Education Matters

SB 303 would implement a variety of unrelated education policies, but one element within the bill would damage the profession.

The bill would require bargained teacher contracts to contain a minimum number of hours per day the teacher is expected to work, as opposed to a set number of hours.

During his term as state superintendent, Tony Bennett tried this approach and a court found that it violated the law.

Why you should care
This bill is disrespectful of the work and time teachers put in each day. Teachers already put in additional hours and personal expense to ensure that their students are served.

What you can do
Tell your legislators you oppose SB 303.