Disgruntled Anderson Parents Seek Divorce From School District
Legislators consider proposal to let parents petition to secede
Some Anderson parents are leading a push to let parents secede from their school district.
Anderson Representative Jack Lutz (R) authored a bill this year to allow petition drives to force a referendum on whether part of a community can leave the school system, either to join a different one or to form its own. Legislators sent it to a study committee for review.
The proposal would apply statewide, but has its roots in an attempt by parents in three Madison County townships to break away from the Anderson Community Schools. Madison County School Alliance president Troy Abbott argues the state's largest school districts are its least successful and most expensive.
Anderson Federation of Teachers president Tom Fortner says breaking up school districts would fracture communities. And Terre Haute Senator Tim Skinner (D) suggests a push for smaller districts would be a flip-flop from recent arguments that consolidating districts is more efficient.
An area asking to secede from its school district would have to have at least a thousand students living there. Under Lutz's original proposal, parents could force the breakup if 55-percent of the voters in the secession area signed petitions. They could put the issue to a referendum with signatures from either 10-percent of the voters or from a majority of households with school-age children.
The study committee can make recommendations to the full General Assembly, but no action can be taken until next year's session.