Legislators assess school funding with new IU study



Indiana legislators may use a new report from IU as they develop a two-year budget for the state. The report and study, conducted by the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, involves public school funding, according to an IU press release.

The report was for the 
Indiana State Board of Education, and, according to the release, the enrollment of public schools is expected to decline with larger declines projected in traditional public schools than charter schools.

Indiana is also expected to increase funding for public schools; however, the increase will not restore the funding levels present before 2009. In 2009 approximately $7,163, after adjusting for inflation, was spent per student while projects for 2017 show $6,863 per student.

The funding formula, according to the study, seems to have improved equity during the period of the study and projections indicate 2017 will be similar. Equity in funding takes into account school corporations that are serving similar types of students income-wise, and they receive similar funding.

Thomas Sugimoto, a research associate at the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, authored the study.

He said he was surprised by the changes in enrollment and how funding varied throughout the state. However, he added that the averages the study found, do not provide a complete picture.

“Looking at traditional school corporation enrollment, some lost nearly half their enrollment between 2009 and 2017, while others increased by more than 30 percent,” Sugimoto said in the release.

Specifically, corporations have less total state revenue but more for each student. Sugimoto said this may allow a smaller school district to reduce the number of teachers without increasing class sizes.

He hopes the Indiana General Assembly will use the report if it decides to change the formula for school funding.

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