October 16, 2021

cedric-lachat

education gives you strength

SBOE To Consider Changing How Indiana Calculates School Funding This Fall

SBOE To Consider Changing How Indiana Calculates School Funding This Fall

Educators and school leaders raised a number of concerns after a letter from a top lawmaker in August warned of possible funding cuts for schools operating only online to start the school year.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The Indiana State Board of Education is considering a plan to protect funding for schools reopening virtually this school year, after a warning of possible cuts from lawmakers last month. 

It isn’t the student-count delay Gov. Eric Holcomb initially requested. 

Instead, INSBOE is considering a different method, by adjusting how the state counts enrolled kids.

A memo to the board said the fall student count day will happen as planned in mid-September. It says rather than a delay, the state can use data from the last time students were counted to determine whether or not they should receive virtual-level funding. 

According to the proposed changes, schools would receive funding per student based on two factors: whether or not the student was learning only online last school year during the February student count date, and whether the school was operating as a virtual school at the time – before the pandemic hit.

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana 2020 Two-Way. Text “elections” to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on COVID-19 and the 2020 election.

Holcomb’s call for the board to take action came after a top lawmaker warned schools of possible cuts if they open only online this fall. He pitched the idea as a way to circumvent a 2019 law limiting virtual-based funding for schools, and allow lawmakers to address with the issue when the legislative session starts in January.

But school leaders and educators pushed back on that proposal, saying a student-count delay – and the unknowns about how much schools would receive based on that data – would complicate conversations directly tied to funding levels, like teacher pay. Many, including the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick called for a special legislative session. 

The board is scheduled to vote on the changes at its meeting Wednesday morning.

Contact reporter Jeanie at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

Source Article