GCSC officials warn of further voucher funding
Open letter to the Indiana General Assembly:
Thank you for your service and leadership representing the students and families of the State of Indiana. As leaders of Greencastle Community School Corporation, we are appreciative of your time and consideration regarding the drafting and development of sound, responsible legislation.
On behalf of the students, faculty, staff, and families of Greencastle Community School Corporation, we would like to share three specific concerns we have as it relates to HB 1005.
1. As written, HB 1005 fails to mandate the same auditing requirement for private schools that participate in the voucher program.
2. As written, HB 1005 creates state-funded Education Savings Accounts (ESA) that certain K-12 students could use for various educational services, including private school tuition, without fiscal accountability built into the system.
3. As written, HB 1005 expands voucher funding which is not taken away from the local school corporation if a student elects to use a voucher to attend a private school; rather, funding is subtracted out of the State’s Tuition Support Budget, lessening the funding available to all school corporations throughout the state.
Specifically for Greencastle Community School Corporation, voucher funding represents a funding loss at the local level of:
• 2018-19 school year, zero students, $280,591.60 funding loss;
• 2019-20 school year, one student, $299,739.21 loss;
• 2020-21 school year, four students, $296,469.94 loss.
Under current law, Indiana’s public K-12 schools are required to undergo a regular audit process from the State Board of Accounts in order to ensure the proper and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. As a public school corporation, we welcome and embrace the auditing process because it enables us to discover unintentional mistakes, as well as mitigate the risk of any potential misuse of taxpayer funds.
While we understand and respect the need for the separation of church and state, we believe it is equally important that all taxpayer dollars be accounted for. The fact that these specific taxpayer dollars are being spent at a private institution should not deter the Indiana General Assembly from ensuring taxpayer dollars are used in a proper, efficient and judicious manner.
Indiana has established a strong record of financial oversight and transparency for its publicly funded institutions, which many consider a source of pride for our state. Financial accountability is a characteristic of good government and should be required for any entity that accepts taxpayer dollars.
Again, we thank you for your time and effort to serve the constituents of Greencastle Community School Corporation.
School Board President
Exclusive Rep President