Indiana News

Central Indiana mother sues State Board of Education over school funding

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)– In the fight over Indiana school funding, a central Indiana mother was so fed up that she filed a lawsuit.

“When virtual schools, which are public schools as well, are funded at 85 cents on the dollar, compared to brick-and-mortar schools, there’s a huge discrepancy,” Letrisha Weber told News 8 about her lawsuit.

Weber has two children in charter schools in Marion County. Her youngest was already on a hybrid learning model before the coronavirus pandemic, then transitioned to all-online as the pandemic began. Her oldest was already attending virtually and stayed as such.

She claims the Indiana State Board of Education unlawfully changed a school-funding rule.

“There’s a misconception that we don’t need funding for buildings. Well, there’s still a structure. There’s still a need for that funding. So, the limited funding limits what we can do in that building,” Weber said.

Right now, state law says schools with students who meet virtually will only get 85% of what goes to schools with in-person classes, which was partly why she sued the state. Weber claims the state school board exceeded its rulemaking authority.

“To say that my child that’s doing it the same as kids during this unfortunate pandemic are worth less is rather frustrating. It’s frustrating; it’s sad. It’s unfortunate that I have to fight this way for all these kids in Indiana,” Weber said.

The suit states the new rule should be declared invalid and unconstitutional.

“My hope ultimately is not to change the funding for the brick-and-mortar schools, but to bring out students in the virtual school that we chose up to the same level of funding so that everyone has the same access,” Weber said.

Ann C. Coriden, Weber’s attorney, told News 8 that “the next step in the litigation will be to review the SBOE’s (State Board of Education’s) response.In the meantime, we hope that the legislature takes the opportunity to address the issues raised in the complaint and fully and fairly funds all public school students.”

News 8 reached out to the State Board of Education for a statement about the lawsuit. A spokesperson said they will not be commenting on pending litigation.