Senate Panel Proposes Phase-in of School Funding Shifts

INDIANAPOLIS (AP): Indiana Senate budget leaders are proposing changes to local school funding be phased in so cuts faced by many urban and rural districts with shrinking enrollments are lessened.

The Republican-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee released its two-year state spending plan Thursday. The panel voted 8-3 to advance it to the full Senate.

The Senate committee's $31.5 billion plan includes 2.3 percent increases in school funding in both years. That is similar to the increase backed by House Republicans in February.

The Senate plan, however, directs slightly more money toward districts with high numbers of students from poor families, with a five-year phase-in of changes in how that money is distributed.

House and Senate leaders have until April 29 to reach a budget agreement.