DeLaney disappointed that 2020 session leaves taxpayers and students vulnerable to charter school fraud and underperformance

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) expressed concern as the Indiana General Assembly concluded the 2020 legislative session without holding charter schools accountable.

“Taxpayers and students are the ones who suffer when House Republicans don't act on obvious signs of fraud and less than stellar academic results,” DeLaney said. “Another year has passed and no legislative measures have been taken to address charter schools that have failed our state, leaving Indiana at risk for the continuation of the defrauding, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars while interrupting the quality of education for Hoosier students.”

Last summer DeLaney, along with other Democratic colleagues serving on the Indiana House Education Committee, wrote a letter to then House Speaker Bosma and the Legislative Council urging them to assign a summer study committee dealing with virtual charter schools.

“Even before the release of the state auditors' report, the Indiana General Assembly was well aware of the practices of the two virtual charter schools but refused to act,” DeLaney said.

In Sept. 2019, DeLaney released a statement addressing the predatory practices of Indiana's One Dollar Law. The rule requires traditional public schools to sell or lease a vacant or unused building to a charter school for $1 before it may otherwise sell or dispose of the building.

“Traditional brick and mortar schools, built and sustained with taxpayer dollars, can be sold to the lowest bidder,” DeLaney said. “It is still shocking that House Republicans chose to block debate about a proposal from House Democrats that would repeal this law the very constitutionality of which is currently being questioned in the courts.”

Earlier this year, DeLaney successfully amended House Bill 1204 with a provision that would make sure students are actually enrolled in classes, thus addressing some of the warning signs of virtual charter school fraud. The amendment has since been removed. A new version with more complexity and less impact has replaced it.

“My amendment would have held charter schools to the same standards as traditional public schools,” DeLaney said. “Accountability to students and taxpayers should be nonpartisan, common-sense legislative practice.

“As a member of the Indiana House Education Committee, I am more committed than ever to addressing the education crisis that lack of accountability from the supermajority has caused.”

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