Friday, March 24, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #287 – March 23, 2017

Dear Friends,

In all the high profile news on other topics, funding for K-12 is being overlooked!

In the House budget, funding for our K-12 students for next year was given a low priority, abnormally low.

Only an outcry from public school parents, educators and community members can fix this.

Here’s the problem: K-12 tuition support, the largest single item in the education budget, was given a meager 1.1% increase by the House.

That’s low. A 1.1% increase is what they gave to K-12 during the Great Recession!

Are they trying to say our public school students are still in the Great Recession?

The Senate needs to do better for our 1 million plus K-12 students. The Senate is now reviewing the House proposals and writing their own version of the budget.

If the House budget becomes the final budget, programs for public school students across the state would be in jeopardy.

Compare the House Budget: 1.1% increase in 2017-18 and 1.7% increase in 2018-19

When the school funding formulas are passed every two years, legislators see the bottom line percentage increases for “Total Funding” on a summary page. I have personally observed and collected figures that have appeared on these summary pages for the past twenty years.

Look at how 1.1% compares with the increases in the last ten budgets (since the state took over paying for the K-12 General Fund without property taxes):
Year.................Total K-12 Funding Increase



2009-10...............1.1%.....(Great Recession)

2010-11...............0.3%.....(Great Recession)

2011-12...............-4.5%.....(Great Recession)

2012-13...............1.0%.....(Great Recession)




You have to ask: Why are K-12 schools being funded this year like we’re back in the Great Recession? Is it because the General Assembly has given a priority this year to funding roads? It is not right to lower the funding for our students just because we need better roads.

Speak Up for Better K-12 Funding!

As the Senate works on a budget that corrects this picture, it is time to speak up!

Ask the Senators to do better for our public school students! It is imperative that they do.

Much depends on the revenue forecast that comes out in April. However, legislators need to hear now from parents, from educators and from community members about the damaging House budget.

In the House debate, opponents of the House budget for K-12 pointed out that 201 of the 292 public school corporations will either lose money in 2017-18 or will receive less than 1%.

Indiana can do better than this.

Contact Senators About Doing Better than 1.1% for our K-12 Students!

The Senate Subcommittee on School Funding is preparing the education budget for the Senate. They are the point persons to contact for you to say: Our students deserve better than 1.1%!

Of course, let your own Senator know how you feel as well as the subcommittee members.

Senators on the Subcommittee are:
Republican Senators Mishler, Bassler, Charbonneau and Eckerty

Democratic Senators Tallian and Greg Taylor
I urge you to send these Senators messages in support of better funding for our K-12 students!

Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!

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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