Zionsville — Education and state budget cuts were the primary focus of Saturday’s Boone County Chamber of Commerce legislative breakfast, attended by more than 80 persons, at Zionsville’s Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library.
Indiana senators Phil Boots (R- Dist. 23) and Jim Buck (R-Dist. 21 ) along with Rep. Cindy Noe (R-Dist. 87) discussed the option of Indiana school children attending charter schools, at the cost of the state.
This comes after Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has pushed for educational reform, urging lawmakers to reduce teacher benefits and allocate additional funds to the charter schools. The bill enforcing this is pending.
Noe said that as a legislature, the General Assembly must consider whether or not to fix public schools or put money toward charter schools.
“You think of these kinds of things,” Noe said. “I believe the difficulties that we are dealing with are not individual schools or teachers, but the institutionalized school system.”
Boots said the basis for funding are students on the free and reduced lunch program, whom he said are the “underachievers.”
“We need (our public schools) to focus on our high achievers, the people that will be our future instead of the ones that will not,” Boots said, realizing that his opinion would be controversial.
Buck said that charter schools have more students on the free and reduced lunch program, deeming it necessary to provide those students will adequate resources.
“We are trying to free up our public schools in many ways,” Buck said. “Charters are one of those ways. The senate is quite in favor of charters. The parents who send their kids to charters say they feel more empowered. This means they also empower their child.”
Buck said that when a student transitions to a charter school, testing scores increase by an average 20 percent. He said that any changes in funding will represent a mentality of the “money following the child.”