INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed several education bills from this session
into law Friday, including legislation allowing the state to take over the
Muncie and Gary school districts and a bill setting parameters for an ISTEP
replacement exam after June 2018.
The state takeover
law will allow Indiana officials to appoint an emergency manager to assume
broad control over the Gary and Muncie school districts, both of which have
financial troubles. Holcomb said in a news conference earlier this week that
the bill will “more than encourage” people to come together to get schools
back on track.
“We have to get
this right,” the Republican said Tuesday. “The kids ultimately are the ones
that are caught in this crossfire.”
replacement bill, meanwhile, provides a framework for a future exam called
ILEARN that is to make its debut after the upcoming school year. Much of the
new test’s development is being left to the state Department of Education.
The law gives some
added flexibility to school districts, which will be able to revise their
plans and change how much ISTEP results factor into teacher evaluations.
Holcomb also signed
an education omnibus bill Friday with two provisions that critics had argued
would loosen accountability of voucher-accepting private schools.
legislation, voucher-accepting private schools could appeal to the state
school board for a delay in consequences after receiving D or F school
grades for two years in a row under Indiana’s school grading system.
Supporters point out that public and charter schools are able to make
also authorizes the board to consider allowing a private school in its first
year to begin accepting voucher students, bypassing the previous time
constraint. Opponents warn it could lead to a rapid expansion of schools
that haven’t proven themselves.
There are 13 bills
on the governor’s desk that he has yet to sign or veto, following Friday’s
spate of signatures.
Those left include
an alcohol measure that, among other things, would close a loophole found by
Ricker’s convenience stores that enabled them to sell cold beer at two
locations and a solar bill that would lower the current financial benefit to
installing solar panels.
declined to comment on both.
So far he has
vetoed one bill, which would have allowed government agencies to charge an
hourly fee for public records requests that took more than two hours to
complete. The Indiana Legislature can override a veto with a simple