One of the most impactful decisions in our state’s recent history came just over 10 years ago when the Indiana General Assembly instituted property tax caps. These caps were lauded as a way of ensuring a consistent and expected rate for property owners and thus avoiding the devastating spikes experienced by homeowners in older neighborhoods across Indiana. In this sense, the caps have been successful.
Unfortunately, property tax caps have led to Hoosier school districts suffering significant cuts in revenue.
Additionally, the failure to keep public K-12 funding apace with inflation equates to hundreds of millions of dollars being lost to your local school districts.
The lack of funding for the very instructional initiatives and school safety measures deemed vital by our elected representatives is puzzling to say the least.
For us to continue to prosper as a state, educate our young people, and keep the charge entrusted to us every day by millions of parents, we must fully fund K-12 education.
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For example, a 2018 report released by the National Center for Education Statistics ranked Indiana 36th in the nation for per-pupil instructional expenditures. A contributing factor to this ranking is that since 2010 funding for K-12 education in Indiana has lagged behind inflation by about 4.5 percent.
In raw numbers, the state’s general fund has grown by 20.96 percent while the amount allotted to the K-12 tuition support formula (which funds nearly all school personnel) has grown by only 12.12 percent. As of now, the General Assembly’s proposed tuition formula increase of 2.2 percent is simply too low.
We respectfully request at least a 2.5 percent increase in funding to support effective teaching and learning. Let's hope legislators step up and adequately fund K-12 public education.
Terry Spradlin, executive director, Indiana School Boards Association