Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Tallian urges local control in school decisions

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Calling the loss of local control of schools a “serious concern,” State Senator Karen Tallian, D-Portage, announced a package of proposals intended to allow more local school funding decisions.

Tallian plans to co-author the package of proposals in the 2011 legislative session. She said the proposals provide common sense options to help schools close budget gaps without raising taxes or impacting the state budget.

At the heart of the proposal is an effort to restore local decision making by school corporations that have seen increasing state control since the state took over the school general fund. In response to growing concern over the impact of a $300 million cut from K-12 school funding by Governor Mitch Daniels, Tallian said all creative solutions should be on the table.

Included in the proposed legislation is a proposal to allow a school corporation to transfer up to 50 percent of the capital projects fund to the general fund with no stipulations. A new law approved this year allows schools to transfer up to 10 percent of their CPFs only if teachers agree to forgo raises.

“The erosion of local control of our schools is a serious concern,” Tallian said. “This proposal puts decision making back in the hands of the locals, giving them the flexibility to manage corporation budgets according to their local needs.”

Another part of the proposal would allow individuals to donate part or all of their state income tax refund to a fund benefitting an Indaina public school or a public education foundation, through a check-off box on their tax returns. Approximately 30,000 Hoosiers now use this option to donate to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund each year.

The proposal also includes tax credits for donations to public education foundations. In 2009, the lawmakers approved a tax credit for 50 percent of each dollar contributed to organizations that grant scholarships to children attending private schools. Tallian’s proposal would expand that credit to those who donate to public education foundations, while retaining the current cap of $2.5 million in tax credits.

Tallian said Indiana’s public school education foundations and those who want to support them deserve the same treatment as a private school fund.


Posted 9/24/2010




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