January 30, 2014

 

The House today passed HB 1321 by a vote of 54-37 despite hearing objections from teachers, public school advocates and parents.

 

An action alert was issued by ISTA last week regarding this bill.

 

This dangerous bill gives power to the IPS school board to enter into contracts with outside companies to manage some of its schools in what amounts to more takeover schools.

 

Upon entering into a contract with one of these companies, the bill would allow the IPS school board to give away some of its students and teachers. The bill would then allow the company to throw out the teachers’ previously bargained contract and be subject to whatever compensation and conditions the new management team forces upon them.   

 

Teacher Retirement and Public Employee Retirement benefits are far from settled as a private employer, under IRS rules, is not permitted to include its employees in public sector pension plans like TRF and PERF.

 

Just to be clear, all five takeover schools that currently are in existence (4 in Indianapolis, 1 in Gary) and are in their 3rd year under those contracts, have not raised a single grade in a single school.  They all remain “F” schools after millions of dollars doled out to the takeover companies.

 

One has to wonder what motivates a new superintendent and an elected school board theoretically accountable to voters to publicly seek to abandon their responsibility to educate the children in the district.

 

Incredibly, the IPS school board (the members of which receive a per diem compensation) and the new Superintendent (whose contract is for $200,000 plus bonuses) will be permitted to reduce the size of their workloads while maintaining every penny of their compensation.  Not so for teachers.

 

In recognizing this abdication of duties, Rep. Ed DeLaney said, "...he (Ferebee) should resign if he wants this bill to pass."

 

DeLaney added, “This bill is a voluntary bankruptcy by IPS.”

 

“What this bill is suggesting is that the business sector knows more about education than teachers,” said Rep. Vernon Smith in speaking against the bill from the House floor.

 

“This bill disrespects teachers. It’s not about children. It’s about money,” added Rep. Smith and he closed by saying to his colleagues in the House chamber, “This isn’t just about Indianapolis. This movie is coming to your neighborhood soon.”