The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 25, 2021 10:20 pm

FWCS board secretary criticizes education savings accounts bill

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Julie Hollingsworth is wary of the proposals packed in House Bill 1005.

Authored by Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, the bill calls for an Indiana education savings account program and expands voucher eligibility requirements, Hollingsworth summarized during the Fort Wayne Community Schools board meeting Monday.

"The devil's in the details, of course, but in some states, if you get an education savings account, you just get a debit card, and you can spend it on whatever you think might be educational for your child, which to my mind is kind of an opportunity for fraud and abuse," said Hollingsworth, board secretary.

When she thinks of fraud and abuse, she continued, she thinks of the $68 million in fraudulent spending by virtual charter schools.

Hollingsworth further criticized lawmakers for possibly expanding the voucher program to include families of four making $145,000 a year.

"That doesn't seem like helping kids of poverty get into good, good schools," Hollingsworth said.

She noted House Bill's 1005 estimated fiscal impact is $100 million.

Gov. Eric Holcomb's proposal to increase K-12 spending by $377 million over the biennium likely includes $100 million on vouchers, Hollingsworth said.

"That's the little shell game, you know, that they play," she said.

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