The Muncie Star Press has several articles on education funding today.
One, entitled Education cuts in proposed state budget not a done deal, describes various funding approaches for schools. It distinguishes between a “follow the student” approach and a “minimum guarantee approach.” The minimum guarantee approach recognizes the realities of schools having fixed-costs and students who require more resources to educate. (See my previous entry on my theory that, absent more resources, vouchers don’t work because easily educated children currently subsidize hard-to-educate children.) House Republicans do not favor the minimum guarantee approach and, instead, passed a “follow the student” formula. The article summarizes the House Republican’s education funding plan as follows:
Funding will follow the students and not the corporation
- The School Funding Formula increases by nearly 1.5 percent over the two-year cycle.
- School funding is now based on a rolling average enrollment rather than actual enrollment.
- Charter schools are funded like school corporations
- Use of Capital Project Fund is continued in 2006-07 allowing schools to pay insurance and utility costs from their CPF.
- Schools given authority to increase transportation levies to offset past loss of state transportation grant funding.
- Provides school funding flexibility by allowing monies between school funds is extended through 2007.
A second article is entitled, Public School Supporters Voice Concerns. The article describes a meeting between Muncie area Democratic Senators and area citizens.
The group mostly supported public education and opposed Republican House initiatives supported by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels to change the school funding formula and increase public funding of charter schools.
Jennifer Abrell, a parent and president of the Muncie Community School Board, was outspoken in her criticism of the governor and Republican lawmakers for supporting charter schools and vouchers.
“Who is going to suffer?” Abrell asked. “It is the (public school) student. Is the governor listening?”
The meeting came at a time when Muncie Community Schools announced a plan to cut 75 teachers, administrators, and other staff. (The article contains a quote from Pat LaVelle, President of the Mount Pleasant Township Community School Board that, “The problem is with all of these unfunded mandates.” Either LaVelle didn’t elaborate or the article did not quote the elaboration. I was interested in hearing about the unfunded mandates. I wonder if LaVelle had details in mind or if that was just a knee-jerk political grouse.) One resident left the meeting concerned about the one-sided nature of the debate (only Democrats) and pointed out that the issue of why the cuts were necessary was not discussed.
A third article entitled, Uncertainty Rules in the Wake of Announced Cutbacks describes the announced layoffs of 75 positions. Class sizes will go up. Class offerings will likely be reduced, but it is tough to know which classes will be cut without knowing which positions will be eliminated and in which particular schools. This article discusses the negative effects of larger classes. And this article discusses parents’ concerns over the cuts.
A $24.3-billion biennium budget approved last month
by the Republican-led House allows state funding to follow the
child and generally equalizes that funding for each student.