Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

New Funding Formula Now In The Hands Of The Senate

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, during a meeting of Indiana's Senate Education Committee in January.

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, during a meeting of Indiana’s Senate Education Committee in January. (Photo Credit: Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana)

By the end of the current session, the General Assembly will finalize a budget for the next two years, with education needs dominating most of the dollars.

The House already passed a budget, and today the Senate Appropriations committee began discussions on what their colleagues sent over.

In terms of school funding, the proposed budget would change how much each student receives. We’ve already explained this new version of the funding formula, but here’s the basic gist: rather than giving more money to schools with more students in poverty, the distribution among students will be more equal.

Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, presented the House budget (which he wrote) to the Senate committee Thursday. Senate appropriations chair Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, commended Brown for his work.

Under the proposed budget, complexity money – the dollars given to low income students in addition to the basic tuition money – is set to decrease. Kenley says the Senate will likely tweak the budget, including taking another look at how to adjust those complexity dollars.

“If we think the complexity issues need to be moved around a little bit, it would be more appropriate to do this on a phased basis rather than all at once,” Kenley says. “I’d like to see what happens, what the impact is, some of those kinds of issues.”

Brown says he and other House leaders are open to this idea.

Districts with high numbers of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch have criticized the budget because the complexity decreases it advocates for will hit them hardest. Kenley says the Senate will take this into account when make their adjustments.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to make all schools feel like they’ll benefit from the formula,” he says.

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