Indiana Funding Declining and Unlikely to Improve

Last Updated: July 18, 2009

This article appeared in the July 2009 Rural Policy Matters.

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Under Indiana’s new biennial budget, declining enrollment will mean declining funding. And, schools will also have to absorb major cuts in funds for teacher training and programs for English Language Learners. Previous budgets had provided a cushion for rural and other districts with declining enrollments, and rural representatives had allies in urban representatives whose schools are experiencing similar declines. Legislators have called for a study of the complex funding formula.
Meanwhile, the state’s highest court has ruled that there is no judicially enforceable duty to provide an adequate, quality education. The Indiana Court of Appeals had earlier ruled that the question of whether the state is meeting its constitutional duty is one that courts could decide. But the Indiana Supreme Court disagreed, stating that there are no quality standards in the state constitution and therefore a trial is not needed on evidence otherwise. Plaintiffs had hoped to demonstrate that a correlation exists between achievement and affluence and that the state’s current funding system does not close the achievement gap.
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Read more from the July 2009 Rural Policy Matters.