March 12, 2022

Public Education is under attack in Indiana and across the nation.  Charter and Private Schools’ Expenses and Voucher Programs, which pay parents to send their students to these private schools, take a bigger bite out of taxpayer funding for education and for Indiana’s public schools during every legislative budget session. Preferential treatment is also given to these non-public schools in Indiana.  A proposed bill ordering public schools to share the funds obtained in their communities through successful passage of public-school referenda was not successful this session, but it will be brought up again in the 2023 Legislative Session.  How do we know that?  We know because we have already watched years of unfair changes in Indiana’s education laws.  For example, present Indiana law forces public school corporations to surrender unused school classroom buildings to area charter schools for a payment of one dollar.  Furthermore, charter schools are not required to report how they plan to use their share of referenda funds, nor do they have to provide documentation or report how the funds were used.

Why are these matters important to retired teachers?  They are important because we care deeply about our profession and about those teachers who followed in our footsteps.  Even more important to us is the unfair advantage that private school students are gaining over Indiana’s public-school students, who make up over 90% of Indiana’s and our nation’s K-12 children.  To sit by and not take an active role to inform our Brown County Retired Teachers Association members about what is happening in state government concerning education, would be, in my view, a dereliction of responsibility.

It is also important to educate elected state officials about our issues.  We can’t expect non-educators to know all they should know about the importance of their support for public schools and students if they are not educators before they are elected. Sharing important information with others never really ends for educators!

Kathy Smith-Andrew

BCRTA Legislative Chair