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4/1/2005 11:13:33 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Indiana--Calls Needed to Stop Harmful Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 1, 2005


Indiana--Calls Needed to Stop Harmful Bill


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Calls are needed immediately to stop a bill that would allow charter
schools to spend only $2,500 educating a student, but force Indiana
taxpayers to pay them $7,000 per pupil.

Senate Bill 598 removes a current safeguard that protects taxpayers
from fiscal disaster. The Indiana Association of Home Educators and
the Indiana Foundation for Home Schooling join HSLDA in opposing S.B.
598. We expect the House to vote on it as early as Monday, April 4.
It has already passed the Senate.

Under the current law charter schools are prohibited from giving home
based instruction. This is because charter schools get paid around
$7,000 per student but it only costs a charter school $500 to $2,500
to provide home based instruction.

S.B. 598 removes this vital safeguard and allows charter schools to
provide inexpensive home based instruction while receiving full per
pupil funding. Many middle income citizens are struggling to pay
rising property taxes. S.B. 598 is shocking in its financial
irresponsibility.

While this waste is bad enough, it might not raise taxes at all if
most of the students recruited into charter schools were former public
school students, since taxpayers were already paying for their
education. However, experiences in other states show that charter
schools providing home based instruction recruit heavily - or
exclusively - from among homeschooled students.

Homeschooled students cost the taxpayer nothing. When homeschooled
students enroll in a charter school, taxpayers are forced to pay an
additional $7,000 per pupil.

I estimate that about 23,250 students are being homeschooled in
Indiana today. If only 25% (5,812) were recruited into charter
schools, Indiana taxpayers would see their tax bill go up $40.6
million.

Furthermore, opening the door to government home instruction could
wipe out private homeschooling. In Alaska, the public schools provide
secular home instruction and now 80% of the homeschoolers are
government homeschoolers. They cannot use a Christian curriculum to
satisfy the law. They attend the free government homeschool
conferences where Christ and God are not allowed to be mentioned and
Christian curriculum is not allowed to be displayed or sold. They have
voluntarily placed themselves back under the government's controls
simply because it is free.

Let us prevent the strong and free private home movement in Indiana
from becoming a government homeschooled movement.


ACTION REQUESTED

This bill could come up for a vote on Monday. Please call your state
representative, state senator, and Governor Mitch Daniels immediately.
Your message can be as simple as:

"Please oppose Senate Bill 598. It's fiscally irresponsible and will
raise my taxes needlessly. Restore the fiscal protection and
accountability by preventing charter schools that provide inexpensive
internet education from getting full per pupil funding from
taxpayers."

This bill hurts you as a taxpayer. We recommend that you do not
identify yourself as a homeschooler when you call since this will
simply cause confusion.

Use our legislative toolbox to find the name and phone number for your
representative and senator http://www.hslda.org/toolbox . Call
Governor Daniels at 317 232-4567.

Since many families do not have email, please pass this on to others.


BACKGROUND

A. Since current funding formulas assume students will attend in a
regular school building with a full-time staff of teachers,
administrators, and support staff, don't you think some questions
ought to be asked before paying that kind of money for students who
will not see a teacher all day and may never step foot in a regular
school building?

B. I did some quick internet research and found companies that say
they will provide all necessary books, grading, evaluations, teacher
consultations, and diplomas, for $2,500 or less. If the proponents of
the bill claim it really costs a breathtaking $7,000 to teach a home
based student, we have a right to say "prove it."

C. The 1984 Grace Commission found that the Department of Defense had
spent $640 for a toilet seat and $436 for a hammer. We don't want to
make the equivalent mistake in education.

D. The amount of funding a public or charter school receives is based
on complex formulas which yield different results in every locality,
but generally between about $7,000 and $10,000 per pupil. The dollar
figures above are rough approximations.

E. Indiana Code 20-5.5-8-2 currently prohibits a charter school from
providing "home based instruction." S.B. 598 guts this prohibition by
inserting the word "solely" in front of it. If S.B. 598 changes the
law to only prohibit charters schools from providing "SOLELY home
based instruction," charters would be allowed to operate if they
provided home based instruction to 99% of their students as long as 1%
received non-home based instruction, which could be instruction in a
regular school building, or in a city park, or a public library, or a
community center, or a state or national park, etc.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely,


Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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