Lawmakers Approve Budget, Education Authority Changes

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana lawmakers have closed this year's legislative session after approving the new state budget and contentious measures that shift some authority over education policy away from the state schools superintendent.

The $31 billion state spending plan endorsed Wednesday night includes modest increases in school funding that direct more money to growing suburban school districts while making cuts to many urban and rural districts with shrinking enrollments.

Republicans touted the budget deal as giving top priority to education, while Democrats said they worried about harmful cuts to dozens of school districts.

Republicans backed off earlier proposals to allow the State Board of Education to replace Democratic Superintendent Glenda Ritz as its leader. But they voted to give the board authority over the ISTEP standardized test and new charter school grants.