Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom


Bite-Sized Budget Breakdown: How Are Schools Funded?


Indiana’s state funding formula is the mechanism for determining how much money the state gives to each school corporation. Currently, each district receives a minimum amount of $4,280 per enrolled pupil. (Kindergarteners are counted as half a student.) “Average daily membership” is determined by a single-day head count. For the 2012-13 school year, that day was Sept. 14. ADM isn’t a measure of attendance — kids who are absent on count day are still included in the district’s total enrollment.

The formula is changed and modified during the legislature’s biannual budget process. Additional funds are distributed based on the number of students who receive free and reduced-price lunches, students who graduate with honors and students who have disabilities.

The legislature has eliminated a number of funding programs, including additional grants for small school districts and K-3 students. The state also eliminated the “de-ghoster” or “re-ghoster” program, which allowed schools to spread out any loss of funding due to declining enrollment over three years.

As Indiana expands choice programs like charters and vouchers, some districts have complained that they’re footing the bill for students who return to their local public schools after count day. That’s why the legislature added a second count day — Feb. 15, 2013, this year. In the future, it’s likely schools will see their funding adjusted based on the second semester count. Indiana Department of Education officials say it’s one more way to make sure funding follows the student in Indiana.

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IPS superintendent Eugene White presides over a school board meeting in August.

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No, Really — Indiana's 'Boring School Finance Bill' Could Change Everything

Students in a classroom at East Side Intermediate in Anderson.

At a basic level, the state funding mechanism for Indiana schools is pretty simple: Count the number of students in each district once every year, then pay districts a certain amount of money for each one. But the Indiana General Assembly changed that in a fundamental way last session when they added a second student count date. […]

One Of The Oldest School Districts In Indiana Closes Due To Funding Cuts

Golda Shepard has worked in the kitchen at New Harmony School since 1974. She says she may retire after the school closes at the end of the school year

New Harmony School was opened more than 200 years ago as part of an experiment to create a utopian community. At the center of that experiment was the idea that quality education is part of happiness. In some ways, that grand test has finally ended.  Following a 30 percent cut in state funding, one of […]

The Education State Of The State

Anger over right-to-work legislation from General Assembly Democrats and protestors in the statehouse may have been Tuesday’s biggest story, even as Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered his final State of the State address. But Daniels did take time to highlight Indiana’s moves to overhaul education policy in the past year in his speech. In case you missed it, here […]

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Indiana Department of Education documents show nearly 146 traditional public schools have closed in Indiana over the last four years. We’ve mapped the fate of as many of those buildings as we could.  Some are now churches, some are now charter school, some sit vacant gathering dust waiting for a new purpose. Many of these school […]

The Story Of One Lonely Indiana School District

North White School Corporation recently closed two of its outlying elementary school buildings.

During his tenure as school board president at North White School Corporation, Shannon Mattix has pushed for something strange.  Usually, school officials fight to protect their district from outsiders trying to take control, but Mattix has a different idea. He wants to consolidate the four districts in White County into one megadistrict. “One of the things […]

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