State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) has spent the 2020 Legislative Session working to strengthen Indiana’s public schools, introducing numerous bills and amendments to give Hoosier teachers the pay raise they so desperately deserve, as well as a proposals to ensure virtual schools are held to the same accountability standards as our public schools.
Senator Tallian recognizes that the foundation of our state rests on the strength of our public education. Public schools educate over 90% of Hoosier children, yet our public school teachers still struggle to make ends meet because they make less than their counterparts in any of our surrounding states. In fact, Indiana is dead last in the country for salary increases over the past decade. Senator Tallian introduced multiple fiscally-sound measures this session to put more money in teachers’ pockets this year and for years to come, but these were blocked by the supermajority. This marks the third time this year and sixth since last session that the Republicans voted against raising teacher pay.
Senator Tallian also proposed amendments to safeguard against taxpayers and students bearing the negative consequences of inadequate charter oversight. This language would have prohibited a charter school organizer from establishing new schools if the organizer already operates a D or F school. It also would have limited enrollment in charter schools receiving a D or F grade and required charter school authorizers to submit a surety bond to ensure financial failures don’t fall to the taxpayers to fix. . Once again, Republicans killed this measure in committee, demonstrating their willingness to turn a blind eye towards rogue charter school operators scamming Hoosiers out of their hard-earned tax dollars.
Despite this consistent wall of partisan opposition, Senator Tallian was able to pass an amendment to make the standard anti-nepotism laws which apply to public schools apply to virtual charter schools as well. Just this year, Indiana learned that $86 million in taxpayer money was funneled by virtual charters to relatives of those who operated the schools. The CFO and his family benefited from over $82 million in contracts. This fraud cannot go ignored. All schools should be treated equally under the law, and this is an effective way to level the playing field and protect taxpayers.
While Senator Tallian is disappointed in the refusal by Republicans in the General Assembly to adequately fund public education and oversee charter schools, she looks forward to continuing to lead the fight in supporting our public school teachers and the students they serve.
“I have stood with teachers and avidly supported public education for 15 years,” Sen. Tallian said. “I will continue to do that.”