Photo: Penny Coutas (Flickr)
Schools spent about 58 percent of their budgets on “in the classroom” expenses in the 2010-2011 school year, and a committee of state legislators are examining whether that amount should be greater.
The state divides school expenditures into four categories: student academic achievement, student instructional support, overhead and operational and non-operational. The first two categories are defined as spent “in the classroom” and can include teacher salaries, textbooks, guidance and health programs.
Columbia City Republican Senator Jim Banks says he was startled by the amount that was spent out of classroom.
“Forty percent of what we spend on K-12 education is spent on what I term bureaucracy or the administration of our schools,” he says.
But retired Indianapolis teacher Vic Smith says some items not considered “in the classroom” spending are vital, such as food services and transportation.
“Should food service spending be reduced when free lunch counts are going up?” he asks. “Should building security spending be reduced in areas where crime is a concern? Can transportation and bus maintenance costs be reduced without affecting student safety?”
Banks says he supports a closer examination of the school spending categories.