Although Holcomb and other state leaders promised in June that schools would remain fully funded during the pandemic regardless of whether students are attending class in-person or online, Bray’s notice put millions of dollars in school funding on the line, given that dozens of school districts around the state decided to start the school year entirely online.
Under the board of education’s new plan, the fall student count day will happen as planned on Sept 18, but school budgets won’t be penalized for offering instruction only online.
Students will not be counted as “virtual” — meaning schools won’t see the 15% reduction in basic per student funding — as long as they were not enrolled in a full-time virtual education program on the previous enrollment count day. Students who attended school virtually in February and remain virtual students now will continue to be funded at the 85% level.
State school superintendent Jennifer McCormick said in a news release that she was “pleased” the state’s board of education took action, noting that the original guidance from the Indiana Department of Education called for “100 percent funding” for affected students who are receiving virtual instruction because of the pandemic.
During his weekly news conference Wednesday, Holcomb praised the resolution for “getting this issue resolved … so schools can have the funding that is needed to educate students during these unprecedented times.”