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PROMOTING FREEDOM IN EDUCATION

PROMOTING FREEDOM IN EDUCATION

Education Standards
Senate Bill 91
Summary: Adds a definition of “college and career readiness”. Provides that before July 1, 2014, the state board of education (state board) shall adopt Indiana college and career readiness educational standards. Provides that during the 2015-2016 school year, the state board shall authorize the department to administer either the ISTEP assessment or a comparable assessment program that is aligned with the educational standards. Provides that before the state board may authorize a new assessment program, the state board shall submit the proposed assessment program to the budget committee for review. Makes technical and conforming amendments.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: Supporting educational freedom is an important pillar of AFP-Indiana’s mission. SB 91 will reaffirm our state’s desire to craft college and career ready standards that are strong, independent and meet the needs of Indiana’s children.

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Charter Schools
Senate Bill 205
Summary: Requires an authorizer to submit an annual report of certain information to the state board and the public. Prohibits an authorizer from requiring a charter school authorized by the authorizer to enter into a commercial contract with the authorizer. Limits the length of a charter agreement to not more than seven years. Requires municipal corporations and the Indiana department of administration to notify the department of education of vacant or unused buildings that are suitable for classroom use so that the buildings are included in an annual list of buildings available for sale or lease by charter schools. Requires the state board to establish a process to be used if more than one charter school applies to purchase or lease the same vacant or unused public building.
AFP Position: Support
Reason:
This bill contains language that would strengthen educational freedom in Indiana. Vision and missions of participating charter schools are protected by limiting the length of the charter agreement, and prohibiting a charter school authorizer from requiring the charter to enter into a commercial contract. Under SB 205 charter schools would have increased opportunities for finding a location that best meets their needs.
Status: Passed Senate
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Senate Bill 282: Choice Scholarship
Summary: Provides that a choice scholarship student identified as eligible for special education services may receive special education funding as part of the choice scholarship if the choice scholarship school offers the necessary special education services and the student elects to receive those services at the choice scholarship school.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: SB 282 expands school choice for special needs children, giving them the opportunity to attend the school that is best for them.
Status: Passed Senate
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Charter School Funding
Senate Bill 321
Summary: Provides for charter school tuition support funding to be at the organizer level instead of the individual charter school level. Requires identification numbers and accounts to be used at the organizer and charter school levels. Prohibits a charter school organizer from using tuition support for expenses incurred outside Indiana. Applies various duties, rights, and prohibited acts to charter school organizers. Specifies, for a new charter school located outside Marion County, that a weighted average foundation amount based on the legal settlement of each student attending the charter school is to be used instead of the foundation amount where the charter school is located. (A weighted average foundation amount already applies in Marion County.) Provides that a student, and the student’s siblings, who attend a charter school may attend a different charter school held by the same organizer in subsequent years.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: This legislation increases the parity in funding for public charter schools with that of their traditional counterparts.
Status: Passed Senate
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Charter School Compacts
House Bill 1063
Summary:
Provides that a charter school and a school corporation may enter into a compact under which the: (1) school corporation or charter school agrees to provide goods, facilities, services, or other consideration to the other party to the compact; and (2) charter school authorizes the school corporation to include the charter school’s performance assessment results when calculating the school corporation’s performance assessment.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: This bill would help create a collaborative environment between traditional public schools and charter schools.
Status: Passed 3rd Reading on 1/21/14; Moves to Senate
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Student Transfers
House Bill 1079
Summary:
Provides that a school corporation that has adopted a policy not to accept student transfers after June 30, 2013, is not prohibited from enrolling a member of a household in which any other member of the household was a transfer student who attended a school within the school corporation during the 2012-2013 school year. Provides that in the event a school corporation enrolls a transfer student or a member of the same household of a transfer student that attended a school corporation during the 2012-2013 school year, the school corporation shall also allow a student or member of the same household of a student who attended an accredited nonpublic school within the attendance area of the school corporation during the 2012-2013 school year to enroll in a school within the school corporation.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: This bill prevents students from the same household from being forced to attend separate schools due to administrative policy of the school corporation.
Status: 
Passed 3nd Reading on 1/21/14; Moves to Senate

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