Minutes for MPJC Meeting of October 26, 2020

Present: Peter, Glenda Rae, Reynaldo, Wanda, Ellyn, Liz (Zoom meeting). Lois had a hearing aid appointment and was unable to attend.

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for September 28: The minutes were approved as corrected.

    2. Progress Reports:

        a. Topic of the Month: Public vs Private Education. Ellyn had annotated the draft with yellow marked questions and suggestions. We worked through about two/thirds of the statement, but ran out of time. We will pick up the discussion at the next meeting.

We decided to put the first sentence about MPJC's position both at the start and the end of the document. We also added some wording about recommending that the state find other funds to experiment with charter, religious and private schools instead of taking these funds from the public school budget. If public schools have to take students with special needs, they should get more money for these students. Also, private schools take the cream of the crop and parents who send their students to private schools and have unreimbursed expenses get $1,000 per child as a state tax deduction. We noted that the stimulus money sent to the state for education went only to public schools as a result of a Indiana Supreme Court decision.

We discussed charter schools in the SBCSC and Penn districts. There were 5 out of a total 94 Indiana charter schools in the SBCSC district and none in the Penn district during the 2016/17 school year. The table below gives some statistics for each school. Note that only public schools get property tax money. In the 2017/18 school year the average per student state funding for public schools was 10,095. The average voucher award for that year for private school students was 4,422.

SchoolEnrollPer StudentFundingGrade
NamementCharterPublicProp tax 
Career Acad HS2668,6518,8171,567A
Career Acad MS3997,6678,8751,567A
Success Acad Elem4757,9378,8751,567C
Veritas Acad907,4558,8751,567F
Xavier Sch of Excellence2147,9298,8751,567F

We noted that money for transportation for public school students may come from a budget different from the Education budget, but further research refuted this theory. Public schools have to provide transportation, whereas private schools do not.

Some charter and private schools have better results than public schools and some have worse. The scores for all schools are published in the Tribune. Note that of the 5 charter schools in the SBCSC district, two had a grade of A, one had a C grade which is the same as the public schools, and two had F grades.

        b. Book of the Month report: Reynaldo had finished reading "From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation," by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. It was a solid treatment of Black oppression. The local Black Lives Matter group chose it as one of the books covered during their discussion series. Wanda was reading "DISSENTER ON THE BENCH," by Victoria Ortiz, about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was impressed by the bravery of RBG.

       c. Indigenous Peoples Day: There was a thunderstorm that day, so we canceled the vigil. Wanda said that her grandfather was killed by a lightning bolt. Her father was also hit but recovered.

3. Treasurer's Report: $97.14 with $20 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We incorporated this topic into other discussion

    2. Topic of the Month: We will continue with the Public vs Private Education topic. Reynaldo and Glenda Rae thought that this topic was too complex and perhaps we should abandon it.

    3. Armistice Day (November 11, celebrated on November 16): This is a Monday and we will hold a sign calling attention to this day in an attempt to counter the celebration of Veterans Day.

    4. Other Topics and Issues: Glenda Rae mentioned that the Little Taste of Peace will not occur in 2021 due to Covid concerns. She did not know yet what the plans were for the Martin Luther King celebration. Study Circles are also likely to be canceled although Mary Morgan at Clay high school wants to sponsor a study circle at the school.

We noted that no matter who wins the election there will be unhappy people who might be tempted to violence. The peace churches are offering deescalation training to counter this. The League is holding training to help deescalate conversation on election day.

The Michiana Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression (MAARPR) sponsored a picket at Dollar Tree on Western near Mayflower last Saturday to protest an employee treatment of a black customer. Also Black Lives Matter urged folks to attend a City Council meeting at which pay raises for police officers were passed. We suggested that the police force fill their vacancies with social workers who could deescalate domestic disputes without violence. The sheriff's department has already instituted this policy.

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    5. Next meeting: Monday, November 30, at 2:30pm by Zoom. Ellyn will initiate the meeting.