Most of the time, school finance is one of those Byzantine subjects best not discussed if your plans in the next eight hours involve driving or operating heavy machinery.
But because a lot of Indiana schools are losing money because of a statewide property tax cap — more than 30 lost enough revenues to qualify for state help — you really need a working knowledge of how a district’s budget gets built.
So we made this video to try and walk you through it. Forgive me for diving into the proverbial weeds on this issue, but the weeds are pretty important to understanding the reporting we’ve done on Indiana’s property tax caps.
Understanding the “silos” in Indiana school districts’ budgets is important.
Districts don’t spend money out of one big pot. Taxpayer dollars from two primary sources — from the state sales-tax supported “school funding formula” and local property taxes — and get divvied into several funds, some of which are earmarked for a very specific expenses.
What questions do you have about how schools draw up their budgets? And is there anything else you’d like us to explain in the future?