January 26, 2014

 

In an era where Indiana schools are laying off teachers and cutting bus services, while Indiana families continue to struggle in this economy, the last thing we need is more wasteful government spending.


However, a bill being pushed in the Indiana legislature will cost taxpayers millions of dollars for work that is mostly being done already within the Department of Education.


HB1320, authored by Rep. Bob Behning, aims to create a statewide student and teacher data repository which would be administered by Governor Pence’s new duplicate education agency, the CECI. Some of the student record collection described in the bill is already being done under Superintendent Glenda Ritz at the Department of Education.


The new duplicate data repository system is estimated to cost nearly $4 million in the first year. This estimate doesn’t even include additional payroll costs of hiring more CECI staff to administer the program.


If the previous track record on big salaries at the CECI are any indication, payroll could be a large annual expense. Currently, 6 of the 15 CECI staffers earn more than $100,000 a year.


Student data and third party vendors profiting from the sale of it is a growing concern. It’s a topic the controversial group ALEC looks to capitalize on through its model bill writing program. ALEC has already drafted a proposed bill nearly identical to HB 1320.


The bill is scheduled to be heard Monday in the House Education committee at 8:30am. We urge members and friends of public schools to contact members of the committee and their own legislators and tell them to vote no to this wasteful and unnecessary bill.