The House bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, doesn’t require public schools to open a spot on a team for a virtual charter student. But it would require schools to allow those students to try out for a team and be judged just like other enrolled students.
The bill’s opponents predict resentment over what they call “displacement.” At a House hearing, Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, voted against the bill and warned of ill will if a virtual charter student bumps a traditional public school student from the team. Especially, he said, if that displaced student “attended every clinic and practice at his public school and then got cut for a child that is never even at the school.”
“For every winner, there’s a loser,” Battles said.
But Rep. Rhonda Rhoads, R-Corydon, who supports the bill, said schools could use the situation to their advantage. “As I see it, there could be one child, one student, that helps bring the team forward so much that they become a sell-out,” she said. “People come to the basketball game, to the football game, because the team is winning and there is a lot of revenue that comes in.”
The House bill initially failed to win the needed constitutional majority of 51 votes when it was passed 47-45 on its first vote in January. It won just enough support when it was brought back last week to move to the Senate.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden