January 13, 2014

 

Today, the House Education Committee held a hearing on HB 1028 authored by Rep. Dale DeVon (R-Granger): Dropout Recovery Schools.

 

The bill was amended to define these schools as adult high schools rather than dropout recovery. These schools serve students who are at least 20 years of age and have dropped out before receiving a diploma.

 

Students receive state funding of $6,600 per student. Programs are housed in charter schools. Funding implications are therefore at stake. ISTA testified to raise some questions about the funding and accountability system.

 

First, the bill would remove a cap on the number of these programs, which could increase the amount of funding appropriated for these adult high schools. Governor Pence requested that Rep. DeVon author this legislation after a similar bill last session failed to remove the cap. This could result in an expansion of these programs.

 

ISTA has concerns that K-12 funding could potentially be diverted in the next budget session. Rep. Vernon Smith (D-Gary) also expressed concern regarding the funding formula. Appropriations are currently separate from K-12 funding.

 

Additionally, ISTA raised concerns about a separate accountability system for these schools established by the State Board of Education. The language is vague as to what the standards and benchmarks would look like and what the Department of Education’s role would be. The language is also vague as to who designates these schools as adult high schools.

 

The bill passed out of committee 11-0 with bipartisan support.