STATEHOUSE — State Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) authored legislation regarding the sale of public school buildings, which passed the Indiana House of Representatives on Monday with a unanimous vote. The bill is coauthored by Reps. Phyllis Pond (R-New Haven) and Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne).
House Bill (HB) 1012 allows a school corporation to sell a vacant school building after the building is made available for sale or lease to a charter school for at least two years. Current law allows school buildings to be sold after four years.
“Lessening the amount of time the building must be on the market allows school districts to expedite their timeline for expansion,” said Rep. Lehman. “For example, St. Joseph School in Monroeville has seen a spike in enrollment in recent years. They decided to buy a vacant elementary school from East Allen School Corporation, but discovered the law required the vacant building to be listed with the Department of Education for four years.”
HB 1012 allows a school district to request a waiver from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) negating the requirement that the building be made available to a charter school. The IDOE will then notify the charter school organization and within 30 days if no charter has come forward with a credible objection, the school can dispose of the building in any lawful manner.
An amendment added to HB 1012 states that a charter school could not purchase a school building and then flip the property for a profit.
HB 1012 will move to the Senate for further discussion and debate.
To stay up-to-date on bills as they move through the legislative process, visit www.in.gov/legislative.