STATEHOUSE — House Bill (HB) 1012, authored by State Representative Matt Lehman (R-Berne), was signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence this week.
The bill 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. Prior to the passage of HB 1012, such a sale was allowed after four years. The bill also allows a school district to request a 30 day waiver from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) negating the two year requirement.
“This bill cuts the wait time in half and adds a fast track,” said Rep. Lehman. “This new law is a culmination of several meetings with local leaders from both the education sector and the community. I want to publicly thank them for their effort.”
The bill resulted from two situations that occurred in local school districts. In one instance, East Allen County Schools wanted to sell an unused building to a parochial school in the area. There was no desire by a charter school to locate there but under law, the building had to be listed for four years. This resulted in over $273,000 of building maintenance expenses.
Fort Wayne Community Schools also wanted to sell an unused building to an airport for economic development, but a charter school was interested in the building. This led to a lawsuit over whether the building could be sold to a facility other than the charter school.
“Situations like what happened in Allen County can be prevented with this new law,” said Rep. Lehman. “Now the process for selling a school building is simplified and school districts with unused buildings are able to reduce their costs and administrative difficulties.”
HB 1012 went into effect upon enactment into law.