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IN's "found money" could benefit State Fair victims, full-day kindergarten

A bill in the Indiana Senate would boost compensation to State Fair stage collapse victims and give more money to full-day kindergarten.  The money comes from recently-discovered state revenues.

The bill would distribute $5 million among the victims on top of the $5 million already disbursed through the state’s tort claim fund.  The money would be given to the estates of those who died and fully-reimburse the medical expenses submitted by the other victims.

Brad Humphrey is an 18 year old Indianapolis high schooler who was left paralyzed by injuries suffered in the stage collapse.  He says he’s worried the additional $5 million dollars isn’t big enough to really help all the victims.  His mother Sue says Brad’s costs will continue the rest of his life.

“So far, his medical expenses exceed $500,000.  It’s estimated that his future cost of medical expenses will exceed $5 million in his lifetime.”

State Representative Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale) is the bill’s author. He admits no amount of money will ever be enough to compensate the victims.

Espich’s measure also allocates money to fully fund full-day kindergarten in the state next school year.  State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) says she applauds that effort but thinks it needs another component.

“How can we justify paying for full-day kindergarten when we don’t even require kids to go to half-day kindergarten?”

Espich says he didn’t want to get into that issue.  He says his bill focuses on spending extra money the state discovered after corporate tax revenue had been misplaced for several years.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.