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Looser rules on selling old schools advancing

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana legislators are poised to approve shortening the time that school districts must hold onto vacant buildings in case a charter school operator wanted to move into the building.

The state Senate could vote this week on the bill cutting the current four-year waiting period to two years and allowing a fast-track, 30-day period for selling a closed school. The Senate’s education committee voted 11-0 in favor of the changes that the House approved unanimously in January.

The bill’s sponsor says the legislation comes after some Fort Wayne area districts faced troubles in selling two vacant schools even though no charter schools want them.

The 2011 law was aimed at what legislators said were instances in which public school districts refused to sell buildings to charter schools to avoid competition.