Indiana School Corporation sues state for what it calls ‘stacking the deck’ against public schools

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A local school corporation in Indiana is suing the state for a law it claims “stacks the deck” against public schools.

The law allows private charter school corporations to lease vacant public school buildings for one dollar or buy them at the lowest appraisal price.

“I’m just asking for fairness in the system,” said West Lafayette Superintendent Rocky Killion.

This former West Lafayette Happy Hollow Elementary School cost local taxpayers millions of dollars but the community outgrew it.

“I think it happens quite a lot, you have enrollment ebbs and flows,” said Killion.

But he asks the question– should the state force public schools to lease vacant buildings to charter schools for as little as one dollar or sell it for the lowest appraisal price?

“I question the validity of this law, or the constitutionality of this law that bypasses the local taxpayers losing this asset without any due process,” said Killion.

So far, no charter schools have attempted to buy the property, but West Lafayette Community Schools went forward with a lawsuit against the state anyway.

“This is proactive, couple of years, this building will probably be empty for a while,” said Killion. “I want to make sure that we do everything we can to protect the West Lafayette tax payers’ assets.”

He hopes others jump on board.

“All school districts could join in, friends of public education can join in, I think the more support we have on this subject the better off we are as we converse about is this constitutional or unconstitutional?” said Killion.

We contacted the Indiana Governor’s Office and the Attorney Generals office for comment but both said they have yet to receive the lawsuit.

Killion said in no way is he against charter schools. He said he is just asking for a fair system.

“Public schools are supported by local property taxes that built this,” said Killion. “Why don’t charter schools have to come up with their funding to do their buildings? Why don’t they have to have a public hearing for the tax dollars that they receive like public schools do?”

We will continue following this lawsuit as it moves through the process.

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