TO:                         IASBO Members
FROM:                  Denny Costerison


Sine Die

The 2017 session of the Indiana General Assembly has adjourned.  Last night at 11:30 p.m., the House of Representatives adjourned and just before 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning the Senate adjourned.  The Republicans in both houses are calling this an historic and monumental session because of the passage of HB 1002, road funding.  This issue dominated the session from the start to the very end of the General Assembly.  It even overshadowed the state’s new biennial budget.  Once the decision was made on road funding, all the other legislative pieces fell in place.  Besides the school funding and school business management bills that IASBO followed, the following are significant bills dealing with public education that passed the General Assembly:

  • HB 1003, student assessments (the bill that replaces ISTEP and creates ILEARN)
  • HB 1004, prekindergarten education (continuing the emphasis on preK)
  • HB 1005, superintendent of public instruction (will become a Governor’s appointment in 2025)
  • HB 1007, education course access program
  • HB 1024, prayer in schools
  • HB 1079, school employment & teacher licensure (background checks)
  • SB 182, superintendent contracts

Several bills failed that were not in the best interest of public education such as the protection of journalism students (ISBA and IASP worked diligently the last days of the session to kill this concept) and educational savings accounts that would have drastically expanded vouchers.

A quick update of bills that IASBO was following that passed on the last day are as follows:

  • SB 567, distressed political subdivisions.  This is the Gary and Muncie bill that focused on the financial issues of these two corporations.  The conference committee report separated the corporations on how the Distressed Unit Appeals Board would deal with them.  Gary will become a distressed political subdivision and the DUAB will appoint an emergency manager to manage the fiscal and academic programs of the corporation.  Muncie will be designated a fiscally impaired political subdivision (new language).  Muncie will have until December of 2017 to create a debt reduction plan and present it to the DUAB.  At that time, the DUAB will determine to lift the fiscally impaired status or initiate the distressed political subdivision status.  Another section of SB 567, contains language supported by IASBO to allow school corporations to opt out of a State Board of Accounts audit and hire a CPA firm to complete an annual audit.  IASBO will provide more details on SB 567 next week.
  • SB 198, career and technical education.  The conference committee report combined SB 198 and HB 1008 in one bill.  The key in the bill is that the funding for CTE remains with the DOE and not with the Department of Workforce Development.  The bill does call for a new distribution formula for CTE that will begin with the 2018-19 school year.  IASBO has not seen a print-out showing how the new formula impacts school corporations.  IASBO looks at this bill as a work in progress.
  • HB 1043, referendum process & referendums.  This is the bill that increases the thresholds for petition/remonstrances and referendums that IASBO fully supported.  It was one of the last bills to be passed and IASBO thanks Representative Jeff Thompson for all of his work on the bill.

On Thursday, Senator Eddie Melton sponsored a Senate resolution (No. 56) that passed the Senate urging a study this summer on school district financial condition analysis and monitoring.  IASBO fully supports this resolution and thanks Senator Melton for bringing this important issue forward.  This request for a summer study committee will now go to the legislative council who approves interim study committees.  IASBO will provide you the full resolution next week.

Yesterday, IASBO provided the membership with a quick summary of HB 1001, state budget.  Along with HB 1009, IASBO will distribute more information on each of these significant bills in the upcoming days.

The 2017 session will be known for road funding, cold beer sales and the opiad crisis, but for Indiana’s public schools the emphasis was on creation of a new fund and expenditure process (HB 1009), funding for the next two years (HB 1001), a closer look at CTE funding and programs (SB 198), and the state take-over of fiscally distressed school corporations (SB 567).  Indiana ASBO was at the table for all of these issues, and we will continue to provide the membership with more information on all of the bills that impact the financial and business management practices of Indiana’s public schools.