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Public school referendum sharing requirement passes House, heads to Indiana Senate

File photo: Lauren Chapman
IPB News
Lawmakers passed legislation in recent years that said schools can share referendum funds with charters, but this year's bill would require it.

Public school districts would be required to share referendum funding with charter schools under a bill approved by the Indiana House Thursday.

House Bill 1072 says if a district wins a referendum, part of the funds have to go to the charter schools that local students attend.

The bill's author, Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), said it's a way to help charter schools compete with district teacher salaries. He and other supporters of the legislation say it's a way to fund schools – and the students they serve – more equally.

READ MORE: Indiana lawmakers move forward with bill to share school referendum funds with charters

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But critics say it could stifle future referendum campaigns, and make them more expensive for taxpayers. Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) and others said it's also not transparent or fair for taxpayers. She said voters at the ballot box won't see how charters want to spend their share of funding.

"They're only gonna see what the traditional school is using that money for," she said. "They will then have to go to the website of those charter schools … if they even know where those kids are coming from, and try to figure out what that money is going to be used for."

The House approved the bill 52 to 39. It now heads to the Senate.

Contact reporter Jeanie at or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

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Jeanie Lindsay