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Governor signs bill to expand school eligibility, funding use for robotics grants

Students move their robot during a 2012 competition in North Carolina.
Ryan Johnson for the city of North Charleston
/
Flickr
A bill signed into law by the governor this week will increase the number of teams that can apply for a robotics grant and allow them to use the funds for building materials.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law this week that will allow more students to participate in robotics competitions by increasing the number of schools that can receive robotics grants and allowing them to spend that money on robot-building materials.

HEA 1233 allows schools to use K-12 Robotics Competition Grant funding for expenses related to robotics competitions, like supplies to build robots. Currently, those funds can only be used to pay for attendance costs at robotics competitions.

The new law also expands robotics funding to accredited, nonpublic schools and amends the definition of "eligible team" to include competitive, community-based robotics programs.

The law’s author, Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville), said the funding expansion to nonpublic schools will allow about 75 more robotics teams to compete after they were barred from competing last year by the current law.

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Democratic lawmakers expressed concern about a provision in the law that bars robotics coaches from collective bargaining. However, the bill was still widely supported by the General Assembly.

The law takes effect July 1, 2024.

Kirsten is our education reporter. Contact her at kadair@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.

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Kirsten the Indiana Public Broadcasting education reporter. Contact her at kadair@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.