Cloverdale board opposes state bills

Thursday, March 11, 2021

CLOVERDALE — The Cloverdale School Board recently shared in opposition to bills being considered in the Indiana General Assembly with regard to education savings accounts (ESAs) and expanding school vouchers.

The board unanimously approved a resolution during its regular meeting Monday evening expressing opposition to House Bill 1005, Senate Bill 412 and Senate Bill 413, all which address the overarching issue of school choice in Indiana.

Though technically separate bills in the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate, respectively, House Bill 1005 and Senate Bill 412 both focus on an education scholarship account program. They provide that after June 30, 2022, a parent of an eligible student can establish an account.

House Bill 1005 outlines an eligible student as (1) a student with a disability who requires special education; (2) a student with a parent on active duty service in the military; or (3) a student in foster care or otherwise under care and supervision of the Department of Child Services.

The bill also provides that an eligible student with an account and attending a qualified school may receive an annual grant amount to pay for tuition at an accredited nonpublic school or education-related expenses.

Both House Bill 1005 and Senate Bill 412 are currently pending in the Senate Education and Career Development Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, respectively.

Senate Bill 413 provides for foster children qualifying for a choice scholarship, as well as establishing a panel to study charter school funding, with its findings expected to be submitted to the state by Nov. 1, 2022. This bill is now pending in the House Education Committee.

The resolution notes that ESAs and vouchers are covered by state tuition support, in which public school students wishing to transfer to private institutions may receive funding. It advocates further that the General Assembly should fully invest in improving public schools in general, as well as teachers’ salaries.

“This board believes that public schools provide a strong educational environment for Indiana’s children,” the resolution reads. “If enacted, education savings accounts and expanded school vouchers would put this environment at risk by directing resources away ... to nonpublic schools and/or home schools that are not subject to the same rigorous scrutiny for their use of taxpayer resources.”

In an amendment to the board’s agenda, the resolution replaced considering a contract with EMCOR Construction Services for upcoming renovations. Board President Vivian Whitaker said it had just been received, and that there was no time to review it.

In other business:

• The board approved purchasing a corporation-wide phone system upgrade from Endeavor Communications for $77,902. The new system will integrate with intercoms and apps for administrators to remotely call parents and the schools. Half of the cost will be covered by a public safety grant.

• The board approved opening a position for a part-time deputy treasurer for the corporation. Linton said this is a 29-1/2 position to assist with payroll and reporting to the state.

• The board approved hosting the Snails to Trails summer program. Linton said the program’s plan had been cleared with the Putnam County Health Department.

The board also recognized Cloverdale’s Students of the Month:

• Cloverdale Elementary School - Maddison Eldredge

• Cloverdale Middle School - Keegan Alexander

• Cloverdale High School - Nolan Kelley

The board also approved the following personnel report:

• Resignation: Abigayle Kenworthy - CES/CMS cafeteria staff;

• Employment: Abigayle Kenworthy - CES instructional assistant; and Cynthia Pettit - part-time CES/CMS cafeteria staff;

• Coaching hires: Jamie Steffy - fifth-eighth-grade girls’ track coach; and Mark Wheeler - fifth-eighth-grade girls’ track coach.

The next regular meeting of the Cloverdale School Board is scheduled for Monday, April 12 at 7 p.m. in the Cloverdale Middle School Media Center.

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  • I would surmise that most parents would choose public school if it truly was a preeminent product.

    I get the desire to fight for resources out of fear that the customer may choose a product that is better than the public option available to them.

    I guess the bigger questions are (rhetorical):

    Why the customer would think that the public product isn't the best available?

    Why would professionals allow their own product to not be elite?

    Why would representatives of a group of professionals not want to compete in the marketplace if their product is the best/ better/ elite?

    What is there really to fear?

    If the public system would choose to compete and prove that the public system is the best education available, consumers would respond accordingly and the problem would be minimized.

    -- Posted by beg on Fri, Mar 12, 2021, at 3:49 PM
  • Beg,

    You make school systems sound like a business using words like customer and marketplace. Do you equate schools to an office, factory, or any other type of business? Just trying to understand the perspective your comments are coming from.

    -- Posted by everyone has an opinion on Mon, Mar 15, 2021, at 2:28 PM
  • I am using those terms as a metaphor for the thoughts and transactions that take place. Hopefully it paints a picture rather than a literal translation

    That being said, I also think there is, without a doubt, a business aspect to public schools. Finances are involved. That is undeniable. Teachers, leaders, etc are always asking for more money. Not a right or wrong but does happen.

    Hope that helps with your question.

    -- Posted by beg on Mon, Mar 15, 2021, at 5:55 PM
  • I think you are missing the local issue at hand. If you read through the proposed legislation and understand the school funding formula you would realize that these vouchers are pulling from all public schools in the state, not just from the counties that have these private schools. I understand the concept of vouchers, and why you would feel that competition can help to improve the system. My problem is with Putnam county's tax revenue paying for kids in Hamilton county to go to a private school that will not benefit our community. Our tax dollars for education should stay within our districts or counties at the very least.

    -- Posted by your mom on Thu, Mar 18, 2021, at 10:21 AM
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