Phil GiaQuinta, D-Indiana House District 80
Updated: Monday, 28 Jan 2013, 4:15 PM EST
Published : Monday, 28 Jan 2013, 4:15 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WANE) -- The Indiana House has approved a bill that would shorten the time that school districts must hold onto vacant buildings in case a charter school operator wanted to move into the building.
The legislation was coauthored by Democratic Representative Phil GiaQuinta, of Fort Wayne.
The House voted 98-0 Monday in favor of the bill cutting the current four-year waiting period to two years and allowing a fast-track, 30-day period for selling a closed school. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Bill sponsor Rep. Matthew Lehman of Berne says the legislation comes after troubles a northeastern Indiana district has faced in selling two vacant schools even though no charter schools want them.
According to GiaQuinta, East Allen County Schools in Fort Wayne was unable to sell an unused building to the Catholic school system because of this law.
“Charter schools often exist in more urban areas,” GiaQuinta explained. “Rural schools have a harder time selling their unused buildings, so this legislation helps speed up that process.”
House Democratic leader Scott Pelath said the bill improves a bad current law that allows privately operated charter schools to take over public property for $1.
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