Education tops the agenda of Indiana lawmakers representing Delaware County IN

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) -  State lawmakers are considering a law to allow guns in school parking lots but won't consider funding pre-school education initiatives.

That does not make much sense to Democratic lawmakers Rep. Sue Errington of Muncie and Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson who is Senate Minority Leader.

Education policy and funding dominated a Third House session Saturday at Muncie City Hall sponsored by the local league of women voters and chamber of commerce.

Many in the audience had questions about declining money for public schools to fund vouchers and charter schools.

And Errington assured Muncie residents that a delay on implementing protected tax levies would assure Muncie Community Schools have the money available to transport students to schools.

The issue of allowed license gun owners to have guns in their car on school property returned to the Legislature's agenda this week, Errington said, when it was put in another bill that prohibits police from using public funds to buyback firearms.

Errington opposed guns on school property while Rep. Greg Beumer, R-Modoc, said there was no common ground on gun issues between partisans at the Statehouse.

Lanane also could not under why Republican senators wanted to take more time to study a pilot program to provide pre-school education when studies show its effectiveness.

That program had the support of Republican Gov. Mike Pence, but Republican lawmakers want to study funding and accountability measures.

That issue of accountability came up in a discussion about diverting funding for public schools to voucher and charter education.

Errington talked about the state creating multiple education systems at the expense of public education adding funding problems with Muncie school require permanent fixes. The local school system has borrowed millions of dollars, sought tax increases and still does not have enough money to operate.

As the Legislarure nears its March 15 end, Lanane said what's left of proposed laws will be compromised in conference and brought back to both houses for approval.

Some of the measure that have momentum are beer and wine sales at the Indiana State Fair, but not not Sunday sales.

And the Senate has put $200 million in transportation funds in a measure that would allow widening portions of Interstate 69, 70 and 65. The 69 work would take six lanes from Fishers to Anderson.

Errington hoped the Legislature would pass an envrionmental bill to require communities recycle 50 percent of their trash. She offered a study by the Ball State Bowen Center that said increasing recycling would create 10,000 new jobs.

There's measures to require those who have public assistance take a drug test and to cut the state's corporate income tax.

Pence wanted lawmakers to repeal business personal property taxes, but Republican lawmakers only were willing to reduce those taxes that could still save industries millions of dollars.