Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #333 – February 18, 2019

Dear Friends,

Will the Indiana General Assembly find enough money to allow K-12 public schools to pay teachers more and to provide stable programs?

That is the overriding question as the new two-year budget takes shape. The outcome is not clear.

The K-12 budget increases listed below for the past twelve years have not provided enough to pay teachers properly. Thus, there is urgency in finding more K-12 money in this budget cycle.

The proposed budget from the House Ways and Means Committee will be unveiled tomorrow, Feb. 19th.

The budget proposed by the Senate is expected around the beginning of April.

The compromise budget putting the Senate and House versions together is expected near the end of April.

I hope you will be involved at each step in asking legislators for a 3% increase in K-12 funding.

How Big Will the K-12 Increase Be?

On Wednesday February 6th, the public hearing was held on requests for the new budget in the House Ways and Means Committee. Joel Hand, representing the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, testified about the importance of increasing K-12 tuition support by 3% in the budget. State Superintendent McCormick had asked for a 3% increase back in October.

Governor Holcomb, in his budget plan released on January 10th, called for a 2% increase in K-12 tuition support, totaling $143 million in the first year and an additional $146 million in the second year. In addition, he recommended that money from the surplus be used to pay 2% of school district pension payments, out of 7.5% owed by school districts, which he said would free up $70 million in each year of the budget for districts to use to give raises to teachers.

This was a far better proposal than Speaker Bosma was talking about in November when he said at most there would be only a 0.7% increase in K-12 for next year.

Study the table below to see the history of funding increases in the past six budgets and the prospects for next year’s funding:


Source: The summary cover page from the General Assembly’s School Formulas for each budget

Prepared by Dr. Vic Smith, 12-2-18

When the school funding formulas are passed every two years by the General Assembly, legislators see the bottom line percentage increases on a summary page. Figures that have appeared on this summary are listed below for the last six budgets that I have personally observed as they were approved by the legislature.

Tuition support and dollar increases have been rounded to the nearest 10 million dollars.

Total funding and percentage increases were taken directly from the School Funding Formula summary page. Sometimes in the first year of two budget years, the previous budget amount was not fully spent and the adjusted lowered base was used by the General Assembly to calculate the percentage increase.

Three Projections for K-12 tuition support as the next line in the table:


Contact Legislators This Week to Ask for a 3% Increase for K-12

A consensus has formed in the Statehouse that Indiana teachers are underpaid and need pay raises. The best approach to that goal is to raise K-12 funding by 3%. Two other methods suggested will not raise the base pay that teachers need to solidify their future earnings:
1) The Governor’s plan to free up pension money will provide potential bonuses for teachers on top of their base pay. Since it is one-time money, $70 million each year, there is no guarantee it can be continued in the next biennium because it is not in the ongoing budget or the line item for K-12 tuition support.

2) House Bill 1003 proposes to flag superintendents and school boards that spend too much on “operations” and too little on classroom spending that can be used for teacher pay. The penalties involve being called before the State Board of Education for public shaming. The problem is that “operations” is defined to include spending on school safety, bus safety and public information for parents in our competitive school marketplace established by the General Assembly when the school choice voucher law passed in 2011. No superintendent or school board should be given incentives to cut back on school safety, bus safety or parent information. It’s a bad idea that has passed the House but is absolutely tone deaf to the intense calls for improving school safety, bus safety and parent information. HB 1003 should be killed in the Senate with your help.
With this background, you are ready to ask House members this week and Senators later to put at least a 3% increase in the budget for K-12 funding.

Good luck in your efforts! Thank you for your active support of 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 the 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 represented ICPE extremely well during the 2018 session. 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 www.icpe2011.com 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. In April, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.


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