N.J.-S.P. Officials Looking to Legislature for Education Reform

North Judson-San Pierre Admin buildingA combination of declining enrollment, cuts in state funding and unfunded service mandates has North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation officials facing some difficult choices. They’ve already had to cut $800,000 from their budget this school year. Superintendent Lynn Johnson says eight staff members have been notified they will not have jobs after the school year ends. She says the corporation is looking to the Indiana General Assembly for meaningful education reform when the legislature convenes in January.

“I would like for them to fully fund kindergarten, and a simple thing is to make kindergarten mandatory. It is not right now. Increase funding to special education. Those children deserve the services they get, but it is not cheap,” Johnson said during a public forum last night at the high school.

Johnson noted funding for special education has not increased in 12 years. She also said the legislature needs to devote more money toward technology upgrades in the public schools. N.J.-S.P. recently spent a significant amount of money on upgrades in order to accommodate the online standardized testing the state now mandates.

Johnson said state lawmakers also need to consider the important contributions teachers make. She said they are valuable, not to mention necessary.

Johnson and corporation business manager/treasurer Guy Richie spoke candidly about the challenges facing schools across the state during last night’s public forum. Johnson says additional, deep cuts to both curricular and extracurricular activities will be necessary unless the legislature acts.

Attendees were urged to sign a petition in support of the types of reforms Johnson mentioned and to contact state Sen. Ed Charbonneau Senator.Charbonneau@iga.in.gov and Rep. Doug Gutwein h16@iga.in.gov. More information, including the PowerPoint presentation from the presentation, will be shared on the corporation’s website http://www.njsp.k12.in.us/. Johnson encourages anyone with questions to contact her office. WKVI will also air the entire presentation on Sunday, Dec. 7 at noon CST on Kankakee Valley Viewpoints.