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School accountability? Not in Indiana

It would be nice to think that Indiana's so-called school reform movement jumped the shark today when two Fort Wayne charters converted to voucher schools to avoid accountability.

How Sen. Dennis Kruse, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, can endorse this move is a mystery. But it leaves no doubt that the Republican majority at the Statehouse is not interested in academic performance.

Here's the full announcement:

IMAGINE SCHOOLS AND HORIZON CHRISTIAN ACADEMY ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT TO KEEP CAMPUSES OPEN, PRESERVE SCHOOL CHOICE FOR STUDENTS AND FAMILIES

Fort Wayne's Imagine Master Academy and Imagine Broadway Academy to re-open as Horizon Christian Academy campuses

FORT WAYNE, IN, June 7, 2013 – Today, Imagine Schools and Horizon Christian Academy announced that effective July 1, 2013, both schools will re-open as Horizon Christian Academy campuses and welcome students and families for the fall 2013 school year. Horizon Christian Academy is accredited by the State of Indiana.

"We believe this is a solution that is good for students, good for families; good for our teachers and good for the community," said Rachel Cirullo, Regional Director for Imagine Schools. "Imagine Schools thanks Horizon Christian Academy for stepping in to preserve school choice for the greater Fort Wayne community."

Students will be encouraged to apply for the State of Indiana's Choice Scholarship which gives students and families a greater opportunity to choose a school that best meets their educational needs.

"We encourage all of our parents and families to consider this option for their child as it preserves continuity of learning," continued Cirullo.

State and community leaders have lined up to support the agreement.

"I am pleased to know that the students and families that were a part of the Imagine family will now be able to be served through Horizon Christian Academy in the fall," said State Senator Dennis Kruse of Allen County. "Many of the families that were attending Imagine will now have the ability through this new agreement with Horizon to utilize and participate in the Indiana Choice Scholarship program with little-to-no out of pocket costs."

State Representative Bob Morris, also of Allen County, states, "I am very happy that there will still be a school providing students with an educational environment that may suit them best. The Indiana General Assembly has worked to give these kids a choice in their education and I want to encourage parents to continue to be a positive force in their child's educational career."

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at kfrancisco@jg.net.

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