The last time Indiana House Republicans vowed to fix the state’s school funding formula, some districts saw double-digit cuts in their budgets. Now they’re at it again, and the results are likely to be similar.
House Speaker Brian Bosma announced the latest plan last week, putting school funding equalization at the top of the caucus’s 2015 legislative agenda. “I have had many teachers across Indiana tell me that the distribution of school funds is unfair,” he said in a news release. “We will fix this.”
It’s true there are discrepancies in Indiana school funding. Generally speaking, high-poverty school districts get more money per student; and growing, affluent districts get less. But those differences exist for a reason. And the GOP “fix” is almost certain to hurt some of Indiana’s most vulnerable students.
This is Indiana, after all, and we can probably rule out any kind of tax increase in 2015 to raise funding for schools across the board. That means the only way Republicans can boost funding for the typically low-poverty schools in their legislative districts will be to take from high-poverty districts.
As the civil rights leader Julian Bond said last week in a lecture at Indiana University, “In America, the education dollar follows the white child.”
House Republicans also exaggerated the size of the funding differences, telling reporters state funding for school districts varies from $9,500 to $5,000. It once varied about that much, but no longer. Continue reading