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Educators, leaders, business owners want more funding for public schools

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 11:19 PM EDT
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WARSAW, Ind. (WNDU) - The Strong Public Schools for Strong Communities Collaborative hosted an event to show support for local public schools.

The event took place at the high school’s performing arts center.

This is in response to pending legislation in Indianapolis that would expand voucher funding and education savings accounts.

Superintendents, teachers, mayors, chamber members, business executives and community leaders from four North Central Indiana counties attended.

Michael Hicks, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University, discussed the important connections between investing in education and communities experiencing educational attainment and economic growth.

He also said local public schools are “neglected” and “underfunded.”

“We have not fought really long-term effectively about how we educate,” Hicks said.

Hicks also reviewed school budgets over the past decade.

“Indiana actually spent about seven percent less per student to educate them,” Hicks said.

He also claimed school choice worked at the beginning, but not necessarily now.

“So school choice resulted in students moving overwhelmingly from private schools to public schools,” Hicks said.

Another topic of discussion: hiring and retaining qualified teachers.

“Very frustrated. Our raises have been minimal over the last ten years. We have been promised higher funding and never gotten it...,” said Terry Sims, President of the Teachers Association.

“I have so many colleagues who are leaving the profession because it’s just not sustainable. The income levels. We don’t know from year-to-year how we are going to fund the programs that we have and how we are going serve our students best. It’s really a crisis,” said Mishawaka High School Teacher Amy Foley.

“We are now facing the consequences, which unfortunately are going to be with us for a long time,” Hicks said.

After the presentation, people signed a declaration to Indiana legislators and Governor Holcomb, showing their support for local public schools.

Be sure to stay with 16 News Now on this developing story.

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