Sunday, February 26, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #280 – February 26, 2017

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow (Monday, Feb. 27) the Indiana House will take a final third reading vote on a budget that puts funding for our school children back in the Great Recession.

The House budget (HB 1001) increases K-12 funding for next year only 1.1%. This is the same low increase for schools passed in the 2009-10 budget and again in 2012-13 during the stress of the Great Recession.

For the second year of the biennium, the House budget proposal increases K-12 funding by 1.7%, well below the latest inflation rate which the Bureau of Labor Statistics says now stands at 2.5%.

Why is the House putting our student support back to the Great Recession? Are we that bad off?

In the last two-year budget in 2015, K-12 funding increased 2.3% both years. Increases for the past 20 years can be seen in Budget Summary Document to give you the full picture. Look at the column labeled “Total Funding.”

Only the righteous indignation of parents, educators and community members can get House members to do better for our K-12 students.

Please contact your member of the House or any member of the House before the vote Monday afternoon to tell them that this budget is totally inadequate for our K-12 students. Tell them in the midst of a growing economy, they must do better than 1.1%.

Don’t Be Fooled by the Numbers Game

What our K-12 students need is an increase in “Total Funding”. As stated above, the current House budget would raise this only 2.8% (1.1% and 1.7%) over the two-year budget, compared to 4.6% (2.3% and 2.3%) in the current two-year budget passed in 2015.

Some members of the House have tried to focus on other measures to distract attention from the meager increases of 1.1% and 1.7%:
  • One House member used the “target revenue” line to tell constituents that the proposed budget was up 4.7% over the two years. “Target revenue” is not what schools actually get.
  • Others have focused on the “Foundation” amount that all schools get, which is scheduled to go up by 5.4% over two years. This figure ignores the “Complexity” amount that helps students of poverty and is being reduced by 15%. “Foundation” plus “Complexity” equals “Regular Funding.” “Regular Funding” plus funding for special education, honors and career education equals “Total Funding”, which should be everyone’s focus.
Eyes glaze over quickly when citing budget numbers, but there is a simple message here for House members: They should do better than a 1.1% increase next year for our K-12 students!

Now is the time to speak up for better funding for our K-12 students. Thanks for your advocacy for 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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