Press Releases | March 11, 2024

2024 Indiana education legislation aims to advance student learning and grow access to public school options

The 2024 Indiana legislative session has ended and a few bills headed to the governor’s desk will positively impact Hoosier students, families, and educators. While 2024 was not a year where lawmakers could make funding decisions or allocations, new legislation was passed to impact student learning and access to high-quality public school options. 

Indiana lawmakers once again showed bipartisan support for legislation that creates a stronger public school choice environment for Hoosier families. For example, HEA 1380, a priority bill for The Mind Trust, passed with an overwhelming majority in the Senate and the House. 

HEA 1380, SEA 270, and SEA 1 will help advance academic proficiency, create innovative solutions to current systemic challenges, and protect school options that families continue to choose. 

HEA 1380 includes the following: 

  • Preserves two out-of-school time programs, the Student Learning Recovery Grant Program and the Student Enrichment Scholarship program. This ensures the continuation of programs like the state’s math and reading tutoring program, Indiana Learns, and Indy Summer Learning Labs
  • Requires the Secretary of Education to draft plans to establish two pilot programs: one that provides innovative approaches to the use and management of school facilities and one that increases transportation efficiency and options for public and non-public students traveling to and from school or other learning opportunities. 
  • Provides innovation network schools and districts with more clarity and structure for their agreements, including provisions that improve transparency around facility use, property tax sharing, and discipline policies. 
  • Requires that districts distribute at least 100% of state tuition support dollars that they receive from an innovation charter school’s enrollment to the participating innovation network charter school.
  • Ensures that innovation charter schools cannot be charged for goods and services at an amount greater than what the school receives in non-referendum property taxes.

How will HEA 1380 impact Hoosier students?

  • Programs like Indy Summer Learning Labs that were created in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic created positive learning gains for students. HEA 1380 allows continued access to programs in Indianapolis and around the state
  • Innovation network schools currently or will soon serve students in Indianapolis Public Schools, MSD Decatur Township, and South Bend Community School Corporation. HEA 1380 creates a better framework for districts and innovation network schools to work together and create more education opportunities for students and families. In short, this bill protects the future of innovation network schools in our state.
  • Due to population shifts and the popularity of school choice with families across the state, our approach to school transportation and facility usage needs to be updated. HEA 1380 paves the way for investigating innovative solutions to address challenges in these areas.

SEA 270 includes the following: 

  • Clarifies language about the “$1 law”, including conditions that must be met for a school corporation to be exempt from the law. 
  • Clarifies the process that school buildings that are no longer used for classroom instruction are made available for alternative uses.

How will SEA 270 impact Hoosier students?

  • Hoosier students deserve access to high-quality school options. The “$1 law” was meant to help meet this need, but it needed to be updated to clarify legislators’ intent for the law. 
  • This legislation provides much needed clarity for our community and provides an opportunity for continued cross-sector collaboration in Indianapolis.

SEA 1 includes the following: 

  • Requires certain schools to administer IREAD, the state’s assessment to measure reading proficiency, to K-2 students who aren’t on track for reading proficiency by grade 3. 
  • Students who do not pass IREAD by the end of 3rd grade will be retained. This provision makes exceptions for English language learners who have received services for less than two years, students with disabilities, and those who pass the math portion of the ILEARN state exam. 
  • Requires certain schools to offer summer school courses for students who are not reading proficient or are at risk of not being reading proficient. 
  • Expands eligibility for funding for summer school courses. 

How will SEA 1 impact Hoosier students?

  • SEA 1 aims to address the decline of Hoosier students’ reading proficiency. IREAD results show statewide reading proficiency were decreasing even before the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Schools will have more tools to measure student proficiency rates and address learning gaps during and outside of the regular school day.

We specifically thank Representative Bob Behning, Senator Jeff Raatz, and Senator Linda Rogers for their leadership on these issues.

The Mind Trust looks forward to working with our community to continue building an education system that keeps the needs of students and families at the center.

About The Mind Trust

The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit that works to build a system of schools that gives every student, no exceptions, access to a high-quality education. The Mind Trust does this by building a supportive environment for schools through policy and community engagement, empowering talented, diverse educators to launch new schools, and providing existing schools with the support they need to hire world-class talent and achieve excellence. Since 2006, The Mind Trust has supported the launch of 49 schools, 15 education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,800 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms.