Legislator touts performance bonus for state's best schools

2012-06-25T18:59:00Z 2012-06-25T20:19:06Z Legislator touts performance bonus for state's best schoolsBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | Two Northwest Indiana school districts could receive a $500 per student bonus under a plan to reward the state's highest-performing schools with additional funding.

State Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Wheatfield, announced Monday he will sponsor legislation in 2013 to provide bonus funding to school corporations with a combined pass rate exceeding 85 percent on the English and math portions of the ISTEP-Plus standardized test.

Based on 2011-12 test results and enrollment, Crown Point Community School Corp. would receive $3.87 million in added funding. East Porter County School Corp. would get $1.2 million.

"If we've set aside funding for under-performing schools, it's time we appropriate money to reward high-performing schools," Hershman said.

Statewide, 15 school corporations would qualify for approximately $17 million in added funding. In comparison, Indiana spends about $3 million a year to provide extra classes and tutoring to students needing remedial learning services.

Hershman said his goal is to provide a financial incentive for all school corporations to perform at the highest level. Schools currently receive a minimum of $4,505 per student.

"Hoosier youth deserve the best education possible," he said.

The plan must be approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor before schools could receive any performance bonus. Lawmakers will also review Indiana's overall school funding formula next year.

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