Commentary by Scott Fadness
Last month, I announced a coordinated effort with Hamilton Southeastern Schools (HSE) to bring awareness to an important issue facing our community—school funding. While our state legislators have been working on a solution and progress has moved forward, it’s still very important for you make your voice heard.
The Indiana House Republicans announced and later passed a $31.3 billion, two-year budget that overhauls education funding to increase equity across the state. The plan would increase school funding by $469 million over the next two years and reduce the disparity in per pupil funding. Currently, there is a 35 percent difference in funding between the lowest and highest funded districts. The proposed changes would shrink that gap from $2,934 to $1,618 by 2017.
Specifically for HSE, the proposed changes would mean a 5.6 percent increase in the foundation funding in 2015-2016 and a 2.9 percent increase in 2016-2017. The additional funding would enable HSE to operate without a structural deficit, keep up with the cost of living and address growing class sizes.
I want to thank our Indiana House of Representatives, especially Todd Huston and Speaker Brian Bosma, for stepping up to ensure HSE’s long-term sustainability. However, there is still a long way to go before the end of the legislative session in April. As the house bill now moves to the state senate, I ask that you take a moment to email your senator and ask him to support the proposed changes to the funding formula.
Your voice is important. The time to contact our state senators is now. Please email Sen. Luke Kenley at firstname.lastname@example.org and Sen. James Merritt at email@example.com to let them know why this is important for their districts and our state.
Follow me on Twitter @ScottFadness and like our campaign page at www.facebook.com/HSEFundingForum for future updates and resources including sample letters to the legislators.