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Pence's Proposed Budget Boosts K-12 Funding By $200 Million

classroom teacher

Governor Mike Pence’s budget increases K-12 funding by $200 million over the next two years and recommends charter schools receive more funding than in the past.

Charter schools, though public, only get money from the state, meaning they do not receive local property tax dollars. This is part of the reason why $40 million of the education increase Pence is asking for would go to charter schools.

The increase would amount to about $1,500 per charter school pupil.

Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Luke Kenley says while charter schools have a beneficial impact on education by adding competition, he’s concerned about giving them additional money.

"When charter schools were first passed in the legislature, one of the primary selling points was, ‘we could do this for less.’ Now we’re coming back to a different discussion and a different decision," Kenley says. "Every dollar that goes to these charter schools or through the voucher programs is going to be a spreading from the public schools."

Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute President John Ketzenberger says it's difficult to predict the outcome of the charter school situation because there is disagreement between the parties and interesting alliances are forming.

"You will see some interesting alliances, not just within the party, but across party lines on this," Ketzenberger says. "I think the other thing to take into account here is you will see an alliance, likely, between urban schools and rural schools because they are in somewhat the same situation when it comes to funding."

Right now, each Indiana district receives a minimum of just over $4,000 per pupil, regardless of school type.

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