Advocating for our students is always a priority for the Portage Township School Board of Trustees, but, last week, two members took the opportunity to take this advocacy a step further.
PTS School Board vice president Wilma Vazquez and member Shaunna Finley traveled to Indianapolis last week for the Indiana School Board Association’s 5th Annual State House Day where the two collaborated with school board members in other districts, ISBA leadership, and our local legislators.
While there, Vazquez and Finley attended briefings on the status of K-12 education in Indiana, participated in discussions with legislators and bill authors, and engaged with our local representatives and senators.
Vazquez and Finley met with State Senator Rodney Pol and State Representative Chuck Moseley, both of whom represent districts that include Portage Township. They also connected with State Senator Lonnie Randolph, and State Representatives Mike Andrade, Kendall Culp, and Vernon Smit
ISBA Executive Director Terry Spradlin and General Counsel Lisa Tanselle provided additional insight on current bills that could affect education and how ISBA members can direct their advocacy efforts. Additionally, Tom Simpson facilitated a panel discussion and Q&A session.
Finley said meeting with Indiana legislators is the best way to communicate the needs of each specific school district.
“As a school board member, I have the opportunity to analyze what our students need and communicate the effect that proposed legislation will have on our students,” Finley said. “Speaking with members of the education committee was especially impactful for us, as it provided the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas.”
Vazquez echoed Finley’s sentiments, stating that having one-on-one time with legislators is a key part of the advocacy process.
“The small-group and individual conversations that take place during State House Day is a powerful opportunity for us and our students,” Vazquez said. “During this time, we can communicate the stories of our students and staff, what they’re facing in today’s educational climate, and what legislators can do to support our district.”