Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #115– February 17, 2013

Dear Friends,

A review of the House Republican budget proposal released on Friday shows that the $81.9 million dollar Full Day Kindergarten Grant is folded into the increase for tuition support. This means that all full day kindergarten students would be fully counted in the funding formula, a long sought goal. It also means the funding increase for tuition support is not as big as it first sounded.

First I should say that I believe it is an excellent thing to treat all full day kindergarten students as a full 1.0 count in the funding formula. That has been a goal since the legendary 1999 session when a big push for Full Day Kindergarten failed at the last moment of the session. That is certainly a step forward.

The expansion of the line item for tuition support is affected by this transition. Here are the numbers from documents released on Friday:
Tuition support actual last year (FY 2013) - $6.500 billion

Tuition support proposed for the budget’s first year (FY 2014) - $6.629 billion

Proposed Increase: (2% as reported in press accounts) - $129 million

Consider that the FDK Grant is folded into this: - $82 million

Actual new money: - $47 million
Now consider that the voucher expansion bill HB 1003 will give at least $37 million to private school students who are already in private schools and will require new state dollars. The total cost of HB 1003 in my voucher bill analysis is $47 million (see Vic’s Notes #111), but $10 million of that cost would not come out of the tuition support budget. The $5 million in new tax credits and the $5.4 million in additional tax deductions for home school parents and private school parents would be a cost to the state in reducing tax revenue, but would not be part of a budget line item, leaving the cost to the tuition support budget at $37 million.

If the voucher bill passes and $37 million must come out of tuition support for private school students who are already in private schools, the actual new money shown above falls from $47 million down to $10 million.

That is not 2%. That is not much new money at all for existing public and charter schools.
That is 0.15%.

The House Ways and Means Committee will vote tomorrow morning (Feb. 19) on both the budget bill (HB 1001) and the voucher bill (HB 1003). Let the committee members know that public schools need more new money than the voucher bill would give to private schools! They need to hear your thoughts about funding public schools.

Click here for my summary of Indiana school funding in the past 14 years for those who like such details.

Thanks for standing up for public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE is working to promote public education and oppose privatization of schools in the Statehouse. I keep hearing reports that some public school supporters read these “Notes” with great interest but don’t translate that interest into joining ICPE. To keep our outstanding lobbyist Joel Hand in place, who testified this week in Ways and Means about the enormous fiscal cost of the voucher bill, we need all members from last year to renew and we need new members who support public education. Please join us!

Go to for membership and renewal information.

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.

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