Charter facilities dilute school funding, Lux warns M'ville council

2014-05-14T18:07:00Z 2014-05-15T00:10:08Z Charter facilities dilute school funding, Lux warns M'ville councilChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | As the Town Council continues to consider a special exception request for a proposed charter school, a former Merrillville schools superintendent told Merrillville leaders about potential issues public educators could face if a charter school opens.

During Tuesday's Town Council meeting, Tony Lux said charter schools receive state tax dollars. If a new charter school would open, it would dilute state funding available for public schools.

Lux said Merrillville schools also would lose funding if parents decide to move their children out of the school corporation and into a charter or private school.

If 100 students left the Merrillville Community School Corp., Lux estimated the district would lose more than $500,000.

Lux's presentation comes while the Northwest Indiana Science and Engineering charter school has been proposed to open in an existing building at 8380 Louisiana St. in Merrillville.

Lux didn't specifically mention that charter school during his presentation.

The Board of Zoning Appeals in March unanimously supported a special exception request sought by the proposed charter school. The request requires approval from the Town Council, but the matter wasn't on the council's Tuesday agenda.

Augusta DeNeal, a representative for the charter school, said she wasn't aware a charter school presentation was set to happen at Tuesday's meeting. She had no comment about what was discussed.

DeNeal said she remains focused on advancing the charter school.

Council President Carol Miano said Merrillville already has "a great school system," and she is concerned a charter school could create potential funding issues for public education.

"We do not need any charter school in this town," Miano said.

Councilman Richard Hardaway has supported the charter school because of its focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

He thinks parents deserve a choice when selecting a school for their children. Hardaway said students attending the charter school could have "a little more leverage" when applying for college.

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