Lawmakers Looking For Answers As Indiana School Funding Shortfall Grows With Enrollment
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana lawmakers now say they need $22 million to pay for all of the service to the state’s schools.
The state’s Legislative Services Agency said Monday the funding gap increased again, The Indianapolis Star reports. Final headcounts for the school year are still not completed, including counts of students who require more dollars to educate, such as special ed, gifted classes, or technical and vocational classes.
The shortfall came about when Indiana budget officials initially underestimated what the statewide school enrollment figure would be by about 6,000 students. But State Senator Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen) said the figure seems to grow every week, which makes finding the money to fill the gap difficult.
The Indiana Department of Education expects to finalize the enrollment numbers this week.
Lawmakers first thought the gap would cost $9 million and introduced a pair of bills to provide new funding. However, that price tag jumped to $12 million, then $16 million, and now $22 million, leaving those bills in their current form unable to close the gap.
House and Senate versions of the school funding bills passed their respective chambers in the recently completed first half of the legislative session. The bills now reside in committees in the other chamber.
The bills have the support of the Indiana State Teachers Association.
The shortfall is only expected to increase for the 2018-2019 school year, when it could reach anywhere from $24 million up to $69 million.