Washington, D.C. – The Indiana Legislature supported one of the biggest new investments in public charter schools this year in any state when it passed the state budget bill (HB 1001) late Wednesday night. The bill provides a new $500 per public charter school student allotment and a $50 million loan program to address facilities costs and other needs, reducing the funding gap between public charter and traditional public schools. The bill now awaits Governor Mike Pence’s signature.
Currently, students in Indiana public charter schools are funded at a lower level than other public school students and do not receive local property tax dollars that other public schools use for expenses such as facilities and transportation. HB 1001 creates a new $500 per public charter school student allotment that must be used primarily for facilities and transportation purposes, provided the schools meet performance expectations. Public charter schools in Indiana will also be eligible to borrow up to $5 million each for a total of $50 million over the next two years at 1 percent interest for facilities and a wide range of educational needs. Qualification for the loan is based on the same performance criteria used to receive the facilities allotment.
Nina Rees, president and CEO at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released the following statement:
“We applaud Governor Mike Pence for initially recommending a funding increase for public charter schools in Indiana, as well the Indiana House and Senate for supporting this legislation. We commend the legislature on arriving at a solution that will result in more dollars being directed to charter school classrooms that will benefit students and for approving a bill that will provide additional funding to charter schools based on the performance of the schools.
In addition to addressing the funding gap issue, the General Assembly also passed HB 1636 over the past week, which will improve the state’s already strong law in such areas as authorizing. The combination of HB 1001 and HB 1636 will place Indiana near the top of the National Alliance’s annual rankings on the strength of each state’s charter law.
The National Alliance would like to take this opportunity to thank legislative leaders, including Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, House Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown, and Speaker of the House Brian Bosma for their hard work on HB 1001 and getting to a solution that is in the best interest of the students, families, and taxpayers of Indiana.”
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools worked with Indiana policymakers as they crafted a plan to tie charter school funding to academic performance. The National Alliance has always been, and continues to be, committed to holding charter schools to the highest standards for achievement.
About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many independent research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at www.publiccharters.org.