Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #269 – January 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

Governor Holcomb’s proposed budget bump for K-12 funding is disappointingly low.

His budget was released on January 10th, one day after he called for a “world class education” for Hoosiers in his inaugural address at the state fairgrounds. He is likely to say similar things tonight in his State of the State address.

His budget calls for an increase of 1% in the first year, a total increase of $70 million. In dollars, the second year would match the $70 million and then add $140 million, a 2% increase over the first year. Adding $70 million for the first year and then $210 million for the second year makes a total increase of $280 million, a figure featured on the front page of the Indianapolis Star.

While it sounds like a lot of money, it’s a figure that doesn’t even keep up with inflation in the first year and barely does so in the second year.

The latest annual inflation rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 1.7%. The 1% Holcomb proposal is far less than the cost of living increase and would not allow schools to even keep up current programs in 2017-18, let alone correct the teacher compensation problem that has left Indiana with a highly publicized teacher shortage.

Attached is the history of school funding in Indiana’s last nine budgets. Comparing the Governor’s new proposal to this history shows that this is a weak opening proposal at a time when Indiana has a large surplus.

It would appear that Governor Holcomb is not ready to fund a “world class education.” We will hope that the House and Senate leaders can do better for public education in their budgets.

It is early in the budget process, and public school advocates need to ask members of the House and the Senate to at least match the 2.3% of the last budget cycle. If legislators want to put a true priority on supporting education, ask them to extend that support to a 3% funding increase each year.

Comparisons to the 2015 Budget

In the 2015 two-year budget, the first year increase was $157 million and the second year increase over that was $160 million. Remember that to maintain the first year increase in the second year, $157 million in new money must be added in. Therefore the two-year increase of new money in the 2015 budget was $157 million for the first year plus $157 million (to match the first year) plus $160 million for the second year, or a total of $474 million in new money.

It’s hard to see why we would do less after hearing all the recent reports about how well things are going in Indiana and how we are maintaining a large surplus. Why would our public schools be thrown back into hard times and recession era cutbacks by giving them only a 1% increase?

It is time to call or email your legislators about strong funding for our public schools. Start first with members of the House since the House budget is completed first. The Senate budget is usually unveiled in early April. Let legislators know that the public schools of Indiana need strong and stable funding to implement the high standards that have been set.

For the full context of budget proposals, study the “Total Funding” column in the attached (CLICK HERE) history of school funding increases which I have compiled over the last 18 years of Indiana budgets.

Thank you for your dedicated support of public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is again representing ICPE in the new budget session which began on January 3, 2017. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

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. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana.


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