Charters May Get More Money But Face Tighter Rules
January 26, 2015 — Eric Berman, Network Indiana — A request for more money for charter schools could end up linked to stricter rules for authorizing them.
Governor Pence asked state budget writers to set aside extra money for charter schools to close a funding gap with traditional schools. Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says there‘s a link between charter schools‘ budgets and low academic performance at some schools. But Kenley says legislators may look at setting more rigorous criteria for approving charter school operators. He says some failed charters arguably shouldn‘t have been authorized in the first place.
Kenley credits Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and his predecessor, Bart Peterson, with doing a generally better job of vetting charter applicants than universities and school districts, perhaps because they knew they would be answerable to voters.
Ball State announced last week it won‘t renew the charters of two Indianapolis schools. Charter schools receive less money per pupil, in part because they can‘t levy property taxes and don‘t receive the additional money for transportation and construction funds that traditional schools do.
Kenley says it‘s a “knotty” and unique problem that will require close scrutiny over the next three months.