Indiana attorney common hopes to block sale of two IPS university buildings in hottest court docket submitting

The state lawyer general would like to block the sale of two properties that Indianapolis Public Educational facilities closed this yr and hopes to provide. 

It is the hottest improvement in the argument around how to interpret the newest version of the state’s so-referred to as “$1 law” that requires college districts to give closed school buildings to charters for the sale or lease price of $1. The controversial law is especially pertinent as IPS has closed 6 colleges this calendar year, two of which it presently seeks to promote

The district’s complaint versus Legal professional General Todd Rokita and the Indiana Department of Education’s secretary of point out and its board associates argues that it is exempt from the freshly revised point out law. IPS questioned the court very last month for legal affirmation of its placement, while also requesting an injunction to stop the state from enforcing the legislation with regard to IPS. 

The legislation, revised this earlier legislative session, exempts districts from getting to market or lease shut structures to charters if they break up funding from sure voter-accredited property tax will increase with an “applicable constitution school.” IPS argues that it is exempt simply because it earlier shared resources from a 2018 residence tax maximize with charters in its Innovation Network of autonomous educational institutions. 

But in its counterclaim filed in Marion County Exceptional Court docket on Wednesday, the attorney general’s business office cited a new part extra to condition regulation this yr that demands university districts in Marion County and a few other counties to share specified voter-authorized tax raises with charter universities. The legislation involves all those districts to share referendum cash for any ballot question accredited by a college board following May well 10, 2023. 

It’s the first time the lawyer standard has weighed in on the interpretation of the new variation of the $1 regulation. The counterclaim provides the exact interpretation as Sen. Linda Rogers, the Republican who authored the modifications.

Faculty districts must share referendum resources with charters for any ballot concern passed right after May possibly 10 in get to be exempt from the $1 legislation, the counterclaim argues. In all other instances, they are subject matter to the legislation, the attorney general’s business office mentioned.  

IPS did not quickly react to a request for remark. 

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The authorized battle has sparked a criticism with the state’s community entry counselor from the Indiana Charter School Network, which argued that the university board violated the state’s public meetings law due to the fact it had failed to approve the authorized criticism in a community meeting. 

The college board voted to authorize its criticism from the point out a few days immediately after the general public obtain grievance in a public conference, with board President Venita Moore stressing that the board was searching for clarity above the law’s interpretation.

“We’re not attempting to begin a combat with any person,” Moore claimed. “But alternatively we’re striving to take away any uncertainty with regard to our lawful rights and obligations.”

The vote passed 4-1, with board member Angelia Moore abstaining and board member Will Pritchard voting versus. Board member Hope Hampton was absent. 

Amelia Pak-Harvey covers Indianapolis and Lawrence Township schools for Chalkbeat Indiana. Make contact with Amelia at [email protected].

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