ST. JOHN | State Rep. Hal Slager, R-Schererville, delivered a legislative update to the Lake Central School Corp. board about school funding during Monday’s meeting.
“Before the last election, Superintendent (Larry) Veracco twisted my arm quite a bit about certain topics,” Slager said.
During the recession, Slager said there were “dramatic cuts” in school funding by the state. However, he said, all prior funding cuts have been recovered and funding “is at the highest level in state history.”
Another area of concern, Slager said, is the funding formula that provides a per-student amount of money for a school district. A new “self-adjusting formula” will show a change over the next six or seven years, he said.
“This formula was necessary not to take too much away from schools that received more and more money no matter how many students they had,” he said. “It got out of whack.”
The new funding formula “will get a little better every year,” Slager told the board. Lake Central will receive a 5.4 percent increase of $5.5 million more in state funding over the next year, he announced.
In addition, the Legislature has allocated $30 million to help fund high-performing schools, with $6 million going to schools with high-performing teachers, he said. “That will help Lake Central.”
Slager said, “We will see if we can’t do more. Dr. Veracco told me ‘it’s almost like we have a penalty for doing a good job.’ If we can find more ways to help, we will.”
School Board member Janice Malchow expressed dismay with what she called “the level of professionalism in education.” Malchow referred to the Legislature relaxing qualifications for school district superintendents. School district superintendents no longer have to hold an Indiana superintendent's or teacher's license under a proposal that won final legislative approval April 22.
No questions or comments were taken from the audience. However, Slager said he will host an informal forum at 6:30 p.m. May 28 at the St. John Township Center, 1515 U.S. 30 in Schererville.