Schools Need Greater Local Control
Monday, April 05, 2010
Indiana Senator Luke Kenley (R-District 20) helped clog my mailbox today with his latest propaganda. The headline of the second item reads "Lawmakers give schools funding flexibility, more local control".
He's touting the greatnetss of House Enrolled Act 1367, which was passed in the recent legislative session. What's the big deal?
"Under this new law, schools can claim up to 5 percent of funding normally dedicated to capital projects and use it for instructional purposes. Schools agreeing to pay freezes for staff, with exceptions for built-in raises based on experience and new degrees, can use up to 10%"
5%? 10%? Yeah, big deal.
I can't see why the state has any say on how the districts spend their money. The capital needs of a school district that has 100-year-old buildings is vastly different than one that has 10-year-old buildings, such as Hamilton County. Alas, the state dictates a formula in a one-size-fits-all cramdown.
Another large part of the problem schools in Hamilton County face is the manner of directing the dollars. Because the tax dollars are collected here, sent to the state, and then have some value skimmed off by the state government, and still more redistributed to urban and rural counties, Hamilton County is a donor county.
It's interesting to me that Kenley touts this new law to voters here. What becomes clear is that he does a rotten job of representing the interests of the people in his district on this issue.
Things have been so bad here in Fishers that the voters passed a referendum for additional taxation in support of the schools. If local dollars stayed in the locality, the referendum would have been unnecessary. I've never heard Kenley say a thing about defending local interests or about removing the state from the equation. As far as I can tell, he's part of the problem.