Indianapolis, IN (September 2, 2020)— The National Coalition for Public School Options (PSO)—the nation’s leading parent education advocacy organization—is appalled by Governor Eric Holcomb’s proposed changes to education funding, which would further exacerbate the inequality between full-time virtual public school students and traditional school students.
Currently, Indiana’s education funding formula funds all virtual school students at an arbitrary 85% of full education funding. The new policy would keep virtual school students at this level, but fully-fund traditional school students attending virtual schools administrated by their local school district.
“All students should be treated equally – whether they choose to go to virtual schools, have been placed in a virtual learning environment due to the pandemic, or go to traditional brick-and-mortar schools,” said Letrisha Weber, National PSO Board Member and Chair of PSO’s Indiana Chapter.
“Students are students and, when it comes to the critical issues of education, no child should be funded at a lesser level than any other. It is hypocritical to acknowledge that students being educated online through their existing school relationships are worth 100% funding, while those attending established virtual schools (both new and existing) are only worth 85% funding,” continued Weber.
In a letter to the State Board of Education, Weber outlined some of the biggest issues with the funding change, including:
- The proposed rule contradicts current policy, and was written in anticipation that the State Legislature will eventually change existing policy to conform with Gov. Holcomb’s proposed rule.
- The change would create inequity between online public school students. If virtual students were only worth an arbitrary 85% of public education dollars in the past, why is a subset of virtual students receiving the full 100% of funding? This division could significantly damage one set of Indiana public school students, while advantaging the other.
Thousands of Indiana families have been choosing full-time virtual public schools for their children for myriad reasons. Full-time virtual public schools have seen unprecedented growth in 2020 as families seek stability during this time of upheaval and uncertainty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Read the letter here.