State representatives visit Nappanee

NAPPANEE — Political figures from Indiana Districts 9, 12 and 21 attended “Nappanee’s Third District” meeting, April 16, at the Nappanee Center. Nearly 30 Nappanee, Bremen, and area residents were in attendance to hear Rep. Tim Wesco, District 21, and Sens. Ryan Mishler, District 9, and Carlin Yoder, District 12, speak candidly about their views about ongoing legislation and their vision for the future of Indiana.
The subject of state vouchers to schools as payment for a student’s enrollment was a main focus of discussions between voters and their representatives.
Political figures present described the vouchers as being established to allow all students, from all economic backgrounds, to attend the schools of their choice where they feel most comfortable and successful.
Concerns over the vouchers included payment to schools after a child transfers to another location, and public tax dollars going into private schools instead of remaining in public schools.
Politicians present assured the public that students would be followed so that if a student transfers to a second school the school of their choice would initially receive the voucher. But if that student in turn moved back to their original school, or chose a third option, the vouchers paid out would follow them.
Additional concerns came over the high cost still owed by transferring students who chose private schools with tuitions larger than the amount of the vouchers being paid out.
“If we can cap payment to doctors for Medicare why can’t we put a cap on these schools who are accepting these vouchers and say ‘if you want our money then you need to educate these students for what we’re willing to pay you to do it’?”asked John Leavitt, Salem Insurance, Nappanee.
Sen. Yoder agreed that would be ideal from the standpoint of the student and his or her family but said government cannot regulate costs in private schools.
“If I’m a productive student, and I’m succeeding in a failing school, then it shouldn’t matter if my parents are poor, rich or middle class,” said Sen. Yoder. “I should be able to pick the school of my choice where I can benefit and be more successful.”
The issue of no government regulation over private school tuitions brought out questions on school vouchers, supported by taxpayers, being used to help fund private schools.
Rep. Wesco and Sen. Yoder pointed out that the basic idea of the school payment vouchers was to help students locate in the best educational environment for their personality, situation and ultimately best education. The politicians pointed out that it would not be fair to tell students they have a choice of what school they wish to attend yet still limit them by not allowing the choice of private or alternative schools.
Brief mention was made of a proposed state measure that would end the rights of individual cities to require inspection of rental properties, or charge for the city inspections.
Rep. Tim Wesco assured those present that while the subject had been mentioned it was not currently drawn up as a matter awaiting any votes. Both senators present echoed feelings that it would not develop to that stage within the next year, and both seemed to approve of allowing cities to maintain the right to govern rentals within city limits.
The 30 people who turned out for the meeting included concerned parents, students, teachers, Wa-Nee administrators, local business owners, and those from the Nappanee political arena.