INDIANAPOLIS—Tuesday night, the Gary Legislative Delegation met with the author of HB 1187 to discuss the implications of his legislation. His proposal, which takes aim at local control of the Gary School Corp., would give governing power of the Gary School Corp. to the Secretary of Education, stripping the Gary community of their ability to decide their own school board. The bill also restricts teachers from joining unions.
The Gary Legislative Delegation composed of Senators Eddie Melton and Lonnie Randolph as well as Representatives Vernon Smith, Earl Harris Jr. and Representative Ragen Hatcher released the following statement after their meeting with Representative Brown:
“First, we want to thank the Gary community members who came down for the Governor’s State of State to support the position of the Gary Delegation. Their presence was felt and it was meaningful to our effort to restore local control to our community.
“A meeting was held with Rep. Brown about the impact that HB 1187 would have on Gary and we made it clear that our delegation was firmly opposed to this big government overreach.
“After our conversation, Rep. Brown promised not to hear HB 1187 this week, and he informed us that our suggestions on the bill would be taken into consideration. We have plans to follow up with him in a meeting next week.
“While we’re happy that this bill is not advancing at the moment, we must continue advocating against HB 1187 so it is clear that this is not a bill that the Gary community wants.
“The Gary Legislative Delegation wants to highlight what we have heard from our community on what they would like to see: first, we want local control restored to the Gary School Corp. Second, we want to stress that the Gary School board must be decided by the people of Gary. Gary parents deserve to have a say in their school board and the school board should be charged with selecting our superintendent, and that’s exactly what we’ll be fighting for.
“The Gary Delegation also stands firmly against language in HB 1187 that restricts our teacher unions. The Gary community supports teacher unions, and that’s not something outside parties should be trying to prohibit. Our residents do not want lawmakers that don’t even live in our community coming in and stripping away their local control and targeting our teachers and school boards.
“Again, we want to thank the residents who came out yesterday to express their opposition to HB 1187. I encourage continued action from the Gary community on this issue and urge every community member who does support this bill to write, call and email Representative Tim Brown, Speaker Huston, Governor Holcomb, and Justin Mcadams (chairman of distress unit appeal board) to let their voices be heard.
“While this bill will not be heard this week, the author can schedule a hearing with just a 24-hour notice. It’s important that the Gary community remains diligent and active, and stays the course in speaking out about this bill. We encourage residents to visit iga.in.gov to track this bill to stay updated on this legislation.”
Senator Eddie Melton
Senator Lonnie Randolph
Representative Vernon Smith
Representative Earl Harris Jr.
Representative Ragen Hatcher