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I have to hand it to my home State of Indiana, they are rapidly trying to kill what was a decent public education.  I went to all public schools throughout my eduction through college.  At least the Superintendent of the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) has decided to fight back against the growing charter school craze and this is causing some waves.

In a controversial move, the superintendent of the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Eugene White, has said that he plans to block the transfer of local charter school students back to public schools after the school year has started.  

"We have become the alternative programs for the charter schools, and we feel like we don't need to be open to people who are not successful at the charter schools…”

Apparently, the charter schools encourage students to enroll and then dump them (or kindly ask them to leave) back into the public school system.  Why would they do this you ask?  Money.  The schools receive their funding based upon the September enrollment numbers.  After they get the cash, they purge students back to IPS, which is now down in funding because that student wasn't present at the time of the funding head count.  

Basically, IPS is getting tired of having to constantly take up the slack for the charter schools.  There are now 27 charter schools in the area, and thanks to Gov. Mitch Daniels, there will soon be many more.  In this zero-sum game, the public school are doubly screwed because they lose the initial student count money, but then are still on the line for educating those students that leave the charter schools.  The IPS district school board just approved mass cuts to teaching positions and funding in part because of the drop in enrollment in public schools.  These students are drained away by the charter schools.

While this rare fighting spirit from a public school official seems a no brainer, the Indiana Department of Education representative notes,  “state law gives every student the right to attend classes in the school district where they reside.” Basically, IPS is still required to meet that public education mission regardless of funding.  Superintendent White will probably be challenged in court, so this is one to watch as it develops.

Of course, the president of the Indiana Charter School Association thinks this is just a “myth” and that such transfers are no higher than others in the area.  I am sure he has no vested interest in espousing that viewpoint.

At a minimum, in such a tight funding environment, the school district needs to develop other methods to determine student count and funding to dissuade such activities.  As the article notes, changing this system will require legislative action.

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