INDIANA—Indiana AFT President GlenEva Dunham issued the following statement amid statewide chaos over K-12 school funding. Yesterday, the Senate president pro tempore issued a letter highlighting the state law that indicates schools that do not offer in-person learning will have their state aid reduced by 15 percent.
“The educators, students and families of Indiana need answers from Gov. Holcomb, and we need them now,” Dunham said. “As cases of COVID-19 surge across the state, particularly in Black and brown communities, tying school funding to in-person reopening is not only reckless, it’s a brazen political move right out of Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos’ playbook. We cannot play politics with the lives of our students. The governor must issue an emergency order to restore full funding to every public school in Indiana, even those that have to start the year virtually in order to keep our communities safe. A sudden 15 percent funding cut will have a drastic and immediate impact on the students already hit hardest by this pandemic: It will mean more connectivity issues, fewer educators, and fewer dedicated resources to help us navigate this crisis and meet the needs of our students during this extraordinary time. In this moment, we need more resources, not fewer. This is not the time to punish the public school students and teachers who have decided to keep schools online a bit longer in an effort to keep all Hoosiers safe.”