HB 1027 passed the house by a vote of 57-41. It delays the expiration Prekindergarten Grant Pilot Program from 2014 to 2016 and takes $0.65 from current riverboat admissions currently destined for the general fund and allocates that money to the prekindergarten grant pilot program fund. It appropriates $8 million for 2009 and $16 million for 2010.
Passing the Senate 42 – 8 was SB 191 which allows a school to boot a student because of the student’s disruptive behavior or frequent unexcused absences. The superintendent trying to get rid of the disruptive student can move the student to, among other places, another school corporation. It is unclear from the text of the bill whether the alternate school corporation has the right to refuse, but I suspect they do. In any event, the removing school cannot stop serving the student until he or she has been successfully placed and the removing school has to pay tuition for the student up to a certain amount.
For a good number of the disruptive students out there, I suspect the tuition part of the equation is no sweat. I think one of the mostly unspoken facts about educating kids is that some are far more expensive to educate than others. It doesn’t take too many disruptive kids to cause a whole class room to fall apart. Seems like lawmakers are struggling for a balance between, on the one hand, trying hard to make sure kids don’t fall through the class and become adults who don’t contribute to society; and, on the other hand, making sure that a couple of bad apples don’t spoil the barrel.
Andy Gammil, writing for the Louisville Courier-Journal, reports on a lesser known consequence of the legislature’s recent property tax repeal. The State is going to pick up schools’ entire operating budgets instead of just a portion. In the past, apparently, if a student wanted to go to a school outside his or her district, the school would charge the parents up to $5,000 per year to recoup the cost of the student that would have been paid by property taxes if the student had lived in the district. Because the local property tax component of a school’s operating costs have been reduced or eliminated, schools won’t be able to charge this sort of tuition.
The new rules should give parents more opportunity to choose their child’s school.
Unless the legislature steps in, however, school districts have discretion to decide whether to accept transfer students and, if they do, which ones they will accept.
That raises questions about how schools can be fair in accepting students without crowding or inviting lawsuits for excluding poor or minority students.
If the only change was this tuition, it sounds like all these grey areas existed before, but they had to be addressed only when a student’s family was able and willing to pay the tuition.