Locals rally for public education

2013-03-18T17:45:00Z 2013-03-18T21:47:35Z Locals rally for public educationBy Times Staff nwitimes.com
March 18, 2013 5:45 pm  • 

Several local educators and families will be part of a rally Tuesday in Indianapolis in support of public education.

The rally sponsored by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education will be held at 1:30 p.m. region time at the Indiana Statehouse South Atrium.

The ICPE is a new, bipartisan, nonprofit organization. Its mission is to focus public tax dollars on the K-through-12 education of public school students by opposing legislation in the Indiana General Assembly that would do things like fund private school vouchers, expand private school tax credits and privatize public schools through any means.

Sharon Johnson-Shirley, Lake Ridge Community Schools superintendent, invited residents to take a bus with the school district to rally in support of public education. Johnson-Shirley said the district is facing a deficit of $1.7 million and the School Board has voted to close an elementary building thought it hasn't identified which one. Lake Ridge Assistant Superintendent Janet Flores said about 30 people are going to the statehouse, most of whom are parents.

Lake Station School Superintendent Dan DeHaven said at its heart, the state is taking public school funding and giving it to private schools.

"Until the issue is decided in court as a public school superintendent, I'd like to see students in public education and less students in private schools but if we have to co-exist, I'd like to see the legislature fund our schools at an adequate level," said DeHaven, who supports the rally but will remain in his district to deal with day-to-day issues.

The voucher lawsuit was heard before the Indiana Supreme Court Nov. 21, and there has been no ruling. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Indiana's voucher program, which gives public tax dollars to parents to pay for private schooling for their children.

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