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Advocates hold faux bake sale at statehouse to represent lost public school funding

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Posted at 1:29 PM, Feb 22, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Teachers, administrators, and students made their voices heard Monday at the statehouse to push for funding for Indiana's public schools.

They held a faux bake sale, to represent the amount of funding they say is being taken away from public schools.

They had 200 desserts and said they needed to sell each of them for $20 million to make up for the money lost.

"There are not enough cookies in Indiana to make up for the budget short falls that the public schools have experienced," Shelley Clark a pubic school parent said.

Dozens of parents, students, teachers, and advocates were in the sea of red.

"The funding is what keeps the system going so when it's woefully underfunded, which we have been for about a decade now. It's very problematic for all schools," Jennifer McCormick, the former Indiana School Superintendent said.

Samantha Bowels, a second grader in Washington Township said money for her school is important.

"I actually want to be a surgeon when I get older so if I don't get educated properly then that's really not going to work out," Bowels said.

Bowels and several other students advocated at the statehouse.

The public school supporters don't want the state to expand the program that provides families with vouchers for charter schools.

"I remember I got involved because I was clipping box tops in order to fund my public school that the state legislature is obligated to fund," Clark said.

Charter school advocates like Tommy Reddicks, says their schools need funding too.

"When I hear people say there is to much money going to charter schools it makes me want to hit the rewind button just a little bit and add some context because charter schools have been largely under funded for more than a decade. When you see charter schools getting a little bit more in a state budget that's actually a catchup funding mechanism to help narrow that gap," Reddicks said.

Reddicks is the CEO of charter school, Paramount Schools of Excellence.

"We Believe that public schools are not business ventures or commodities to be bought and sold," Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer a public school parent said.

Public school supporters hope lawmakers will hear their voices this legislative session.

"Instead of looking at it as an expenditure we need to think of it as an investment If we don't get it right it's going to have lasting impact for us," McCormick said.

Senate Bill 398 would require Indiana counties to share part of the money collected from property taxes with charter schools.