INDIANAPOLIS–On Thursday, State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Indianapolis) offered an amendment to House Bill 1108 to require charter and private voucher schools to submit independent audits to the Department of Education on all public and private funds received by the schools. The amendment to install more accountability and transparency in charter schools and private voucher schools was defeated by the Republican supermajority in the Senate. Sen. Stoops had the following response:
“Given that two virtual charter schools committed $86 million in fraud, it’s past time the legislature demands more transparency from charter schools,” Sen. Stoops said. “Two weeks ago, we discovered the full scope of the fraud that was carried out against the state by two virtual charter schools. Establishing more transparency is the necessary step the supermajority and governor must agree to take to strengthen protections for Hoosier taxpayers. We should be doing everything in our power to ensure that Hoosier money is not being misallocated or misused, but instead spent on our students. Over the past five years, $1.4 billion has been shifted from our traditional public schools to these lightly regulated charters.
“The fact that Republicans continue to vote against practical measures to address such a massive theft of state funds is grossly irresponsible. My amendment would have simply required schools to be open and honest about the tax dollars they receive from us to spend on education—something public schools already do. Republicans are making it clear to Hoosiers they are willing to ignore fraud. Taxpayers are out $86 million and they deserve better than the complete lack of action they are receiving from Governor Holcomb and the Republican supermajority in the legislature.”