[r91] Rep. Behning wraps-up education study committee (9/29/2011)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Start Date: 9/29/2011 All Day
End Date: 9/29/2011

Rep. Behning wraps-up education study committee

STATEHOUSE-State Representative Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), Co-Chairman of the Interim Study Committee on Education Issues, held the final meeting for the committee today.  

Throughout the summer the committee has been studying the issues of superintendent salaries, high school graduation rates and college graduation rates in Indiana.

The first committee hearing met to discuss concerns relating to superintendent pay in Indiana.  During the meeting, legislators heard from Dennis Brooks, the Senior Advisor to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and from superintendents across the state.

"This issue was brought up last session, but a consensus was not reached on how to best to examine and treat superintendent contracts," said Rep. Behning. "After listening to testimony, I crafted draft legislation that will hopefully increase transparency by keeping the public better informed to the details of a superintendent's salary and benefits. I believe this will help ensure that these packages are developed with the best interest of the schools in mind."

At the final meeting, Rep. Behning presented his preliminary draft legislation that calls for greater transparency when superintendent contracts are being negotiated and asked for committee members' support. He garnered enough support from the committee (8-2) to move forward with this legislation during the upcoming session.   

The second committee hearing was dedicated to studying the cause of low graduation rates in some of Indiana's high schools and looked to identify what best practices are for increasing high school graduation rates. Legislators heard from many education professionals during this committee.

"There is no silver bullet solution for improving graduation rates, so multifaceted approaches will be necessary. Initiatives such as full day kindergarten, which we expanded last session, as well as other innovative approaches, will be key to not only improving graduation rates but to also raising the quality of education a graduate receives," said Rep. Behning. 

Legislators listened to presentations by Indiana colleges regarding their graduation rates and then wrapped up the committee by reviewing and accepting the committee report.

"This interim committee was beneficial by allowing us more time to glean information on these subjects," said Rep. Behning. "There is a huge advantage to studying and developing solutions to potential legislation during the interim."