INDIANAPOLIS—On Monday, State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) presented two amendments to Senate Bill (SB) 1066 to put more accountability and transparency measures in place for virtual charter schools. The first amendment borrowed language from his SB 431 and would require organizers and authorizers of virtual charter schools to submit a surety bond to eliminate financial risk from Hoosier taxpayers. It also would have required charter school authorizers to co-sign loans from the taxpayer-funded Common School and would have tied enrollment and administrative fees to school performance. The second amendment would have required charter and private voucher schools to submit independent audits to the Department of Education on all public and private funds received by the schools. Both amendments were voted down by the Republican supermajority.
“This is the seventh time this session that Senate Democrats have offered legislation to require more transparency from virtual charter schools and the supermajority has blocked our efforts each time,” Sen. Stoops said. “I believe our Hoosier taxpayers deserve to have legislators fighting to protect their hard-earned tax dollars from being misused, and that’s what my caucus is trying to do despite our Republican colleagues’ commitment to turning a blind eye. This was, unfortunately, our last opportunity this session to pass legislation to put necessary accountability measures in place to protect Hoosiers from future fraud from unregulated virtual charter schools. Without those protections, Republicans have guaranteed that Hoosier tax dollars will remain vulnerable to further theft.”