Phyllis Bush, a founding member of the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education and a founding board member of the Network for Public Education, warns that the legislature is reconvening on May 14 and will consider a law to facilitate state takeovers and the destruction of local control of public education. Don’t ever believe that Republicans defend local control. When they are in power, they undermine and oppose it.

Bush and her colleagues are especially concerned about a bill called HB 1315.

“HB 1315 focuses on the Muncie and Gary school corporations, which are in fiscal distress. This bill would replace the elected school board of Muncie schools with a board appointed by Ball State University and exempt said board from adhering to a host of laws affecting student learning. By setting a dangerous precedent of state takeover, this bill potentially concerns any public school district that might be in fiscal distress in the future. This bill has the potential of negatively affecting local control, teacher input and protections for students in many communities. This is not just about Muncie and Gary. Your school district could be next.

“Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education’s concern is that legislators are not listening to the voices of their constituents and are not considering the far-reaching consequences of bringing this bill back in a way that is outside of normal legislative procedures. Add your voice.

“Please encourage legislators to oppose HB 1315 in its present form.

“We NEIFPE members invite people across the state to join us in collective actions to make our voices heard. We will start actions on Monday and continue through May 14. Here are our suggestions:

• Host Postcard Meet-Ups to reach out to our legislators. You can create your own meet-up in coffee shops, homes, libraries or wherever you and your friends are comfortable. NEIFPE will provide postcard templates to help you get started.

• Host a “Tweet-Up.” For those of you who are new to Twitter, we will provide information on how to tweet and on how to schedule tweets at your own convenience. We will also provide sample tweets. All you need is a Twitter account and internet access.

• Send emails and place calls to legislators; these are also effective.

“This is your opportunity to host your own gathering. Let our state legislators know you are paying attention. Show them you care about the issues on which they will be voting. Tell them you a want thorough discussion of the proposals.

“These Meet-Up/Greet Up/Tweet Ups will be statewide actions and will tell our legislators, our friends and neighbors: “We are watching this, and we are proud to advocate for public education.””