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School Financial Indicator Committee Meets This Week

Tim Brown

Rep. Tim Brown sponsored HB 1315, one of the most controversial bills this year that focused heavily on school financial management in Gary and Muncie. – Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Under a bill passed earlier this year, the state plans to keep closer tabs on financially struggling schools. A committee meets this week, to discuss which financial risk factors the state might monitor as part of that plan.

Lawmakers received heavy criticism for one of this year’s most contentious bills: House Bill 1315. The parts specific to changes in school officials’ power and control in Gary and Muncie schools spurred much of the pushback.

But defenders of the legislation have pointed to pieces that aim to strengthen the way the state identifies and supports financially struggling districts. That includes the creation of a committee to come up with a list of financial red flags for the state to keep an eye on.

Those indicators will help determine if schools might be added to a watchlist for further intervention and oversight, and supporters say it will help keep schools from reaching the point of financial crisis. The state took over Gary and Muncie schools last year due to severe financial problems.

Committee members will hear public comment on the issue this week as they begin the process of forming the list of indicators. The group aims to have a drafted plan ready for review in early September, and present a final version to the State Budget Committee later that month.

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