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STATE'S REPORT CARD: Whitko supt. assesses legislature’s performance

March 21, 2012

PIERCETON — Positive and encouraging news from the state legislature was reported by Whitko Community School Corporation Superintendent Steve Clason regarding the multiple Average Daily Membership (ADM) count, increased appropriation amount for full-day kindergarten and online courses for high school students.
“The legislature finished up and I guess the good news is that they did a few things that were a comfort for WCSC,” Clason said at its board of school trustees monthly meeting Monday evening. “The multiple ADM count is going to help next year and I will say the legislature has been more sensitive this year about putting in programs that are unfunded mandates in testing.”
State legislation, which would require high school students in Indiana to take at least one online course, is meeting resistance from various school administrators who say they can not afford any more mandates from the state.
The bill would require all public school students to take a “virtual instruction course” before graduating with a Core 40 diploma, beginning with the freshman class of 2013. Indiana school corporations would be required to provide at least three virtual instruction courses in which a student can enroll.
“It’s (mandated online courses) not a bad thing, it’s just an unfunded band-aid we (WCSC) don’t have the technology and pipeline (established),” Clason said. “So they (legislature) pulled that back and said let’s do a study and find out what it’s going to cost and let’s not be passing more mandates on the school.”
The legislature also increased the amount of appropriation for the full-day kindergarten grant which the board approved and implemented this school year. This program is exciting for the school’s educational staff and parents as WCSC continues to strive in expanding curriculum expectations as well as providing more time to meet individual student needs, Clason said.
“Additional funding for full-day kindergarten next year means that we’ll (WCSC) get closer to having our revenue match our expenditures,” Clason said. “We are still spending a little bit more in 2012 than we are taking in and we have the cash balance where we can do that. We are getting closer and it’s a nice feeling.”
Educationally, the state legislature will continue to look at summer study committees.
“I guess the negative to that (summer study committees) is I have to pay attention in the summer too, and will have to go down to Indianapolis regarding summer bills out there which I will address this summer,” said Clason.

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