A state senator says she doesn’t want partisan politics to get in the way of public K-12 education in Indiana, adding Indiana’s funding formula is in such flux the best solution may be starting from scratch.
Senator Vi Simpson says, “The historical perspective on the school funding formula has changed every two year for more than 20 years. We try to address several problems and the formula gets tweaked or rewritten so it never really finishes the job.” She says it may be more beneficial for the committee to establish a new one. “So what I’m trying to do is get people to think about the future of education, let’s throw it out and start over if we have to,” she says.
“The new formula is key, but if we fight over it and it changes every two years then the partisan bickering that goes on over the school funding formula defeats the purpose” says Simpson.
Simpson is optimistic lawmakers will rise to the occasion, and she thinks it’s beneficial to incorporate alternative schools in the discussion, but she cautions against losing sight of public school problems. “This society was built on a public school system, and we should support it, not take resources away.” Simpson notes there are many additional options that may be right for some students, but perhaps not all. “We can’t stop investing in them in order to try some of the new things. If we’re really interested in investing in new ideas then we need to find the money to support those things” emphasizes Simpson.
Simpson aims to put together a non-partisan group of school funding experts which will rely on numbers – rather than on politics — to offer a solution.