House Budget Would Increase School Spending

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): House Republicans have unveiled a budget plan which more than doubles Governor Pence‘s proposed funding increase for schools.

Pence had proposed an additional 200-million dollars for schools, with some of that earmarked for charters. Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown‘s (R – Crawfordsville) plan increases funding by 470-million, with charters allowed to apply for up to 40-million more for construction, transportation or equipment needs. Pence‘s proposal would increase school funding three-percent over the two-year budget.

Brown‘s budget calls for a nearly five-percent increase, with most of the difference in the second year. He says the budget would also complete a five-year transition to linking funding directly to enrollment. Schools with declining enrollment have had the potential funding loss cushioned by a formula which continued to give them partial credit for lost students.

The House plan also takes a multiplier for at-risk students out of the school funding formula. Schools would instead receive a flat bonus grant for students in the federal free lunch program.

The Ways and Means Committee plans to vote on the plan Wednesday, with the full House voting next week.