« English-Learners New to the U.S. Are Focus of Education Department Initiative | Main | Ed. Dept. Doles Out a Dozen Grants to Educate Native American Students »

Reps. Messer, Rokita Raise Concerns About Title I Funds for Indiana Charters

Two members of Congress from Indiana have questioned whether certain federal money is being distributed properly by the Indiana Department of Education.

In a Sept. 21 letter, U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, both Republicans, told Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz that they were worried about reports that Title I dollars for disadvantaged students were being inequitably distributed between traditional public schools and charter schools. Specifically, they note reports from earlier this month that at the same time charters in Indiana lost $2.3 million in Title I money for fiscal 2016, traditional public schools such as the Indianapolis districts saw a $1.6 million increase in that funding stream.

The two congressional representatives go on to write that for fiscal 2016, 22 of the 59 charter schools in Indiana received less than 85 percent of their Title I funding during the previous fiscal year. That fact, according to Messer and Rokita, appears to be in violation of Title I regulations, which include a "hold harmless" provision for such funds.

"This is particularly troubling given that no traditional public school corporation experienced similar cuts," they wrote to Ritz, a Democrat. Both Messer and Rokita are on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. 

A spokesman for the Indiana department, Daniel Altman, told the Indiana Business Journal that the fault lies with charters for submitting incorrect data, and also criticized Messer and Rokita for what he said was taking political advantage of the situation. 

The dispute between the two congressmen and Ritz is merely the latest feud between the state superintendent, who was elected in 2012, and Indiana Republicans. At various times, she has disagreed with state school board members, legislators, and Gov. Mike Pence about assessment, accountability, and control of the state board itself.  

Read the full letter from Messer and Rokita below:

Don't miss another Politics K-12 post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox.

Follow us on Twitter at @PoliticsK12.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments