INDIANA ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL BUSINESS OFFICIALS
2019 LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTIONS
I. School Funding Issues
The 2019 session of the Indiana General Assembly will be focusing on the next biennial state budget. Public Education is the foundation of our society, and extremely important to the economic development of the state and local communities. The funding from the state for public education must meet the needs of all students regardless of where in the state they are located.
Indiana ASBO recommends that the funding increase in the appropriation for school tuition support in the new state budget should be no less than the current cost of living index. Adequate increases in teacher compensation is a challenge that all school corporations are facing. Operating costs (insurance, utilities, goods and services, etc.) that will be in the new Operations Fund continue to grow and must be funded with tuition support monies. Appropriate funding must be made available in order for public education to meet accountability requirements, to narrow the achievement gap, increase graduate rates, and to meet the needs of all students.
A. School Distribution Formula
• The foundation amount in the formula must continue to be increased.
IASBO supports an increase in the foundation factor no less than the current cost of living index. The foundation amount in the formula is the key for sustaining sufficient funding levels and benefits all school corporations.
• Adequately address the complexity index factor and the foundation amount in the school funding formula.
IASBO recommends that the complexity index be reviewed to see the impact of using FSSA factors for poverty. For numerous school corporations these factors are decreasing while the needs of students increase. In this review, the following factors should be considered to be included in the complexity index: non-English speaking students, immigrants, refugees and homeless students. The education for these students is an additional cost that needs to be recognized. Further, the foundation amount in the complexity index should be increased by the current cost of living index.
• The Career and Technical Education Grant should be adequately funded and reflect the needs of all CTE students.
IASBO supports an increase in the various CTE funding levels at the current cost of living rate. There must be adequate funding at all CTE levels to meet the needs of all students.
B. Voucher and Scholarship Funding
• Funding for the Choice Scholarship (Vouchers) and the Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship programs should have a separate appropriation in the state budget
IASBO recommends that state dollars in the state budget that fund the Choice Scholarship and the Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship programs should be separate from the appropriation for tuition support in the state budget. The dollars spent on these programs should be as transparent as possible.
• No Expansion of Choice Scholarships (Vouchers)
IASBO recommends that there be a thorough study of the Choice Scholarship program to determine the effectiveness of the program. Included in this study should be a review of the number of choice scholarship students who return to public schools. No expansion of the program should be initiated until the review is concluded.
C. Categorical Instructional Initiatives
• IASBO believes that funding is required for the following programs to assist with the accountability requirements, the narrowing of the achievement gap, and meeting the needs of all students in Indiana’s public schools.
• Summer School Funding
Fully fund summer school for all students
IASBO recommends that the General Assembly fully fund summer school for students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The program should be expanded to allow all students access to meet their individual requirements.
• Remediation Funding
Restore funding for all remediation programs
IASBO recommends that the General Assembly should continue to allocate funds for supplemental remediation by restoring the funding to previous amounts. With increasing accountability and higher academic standards at the local, state and federal levels, as well as an increasing number of limited English-speaking students, immigrants, refugees and homeless students enrolling in our schools, many Indiana students are in need of remediation services.
• Professional Development
Increase funding for professional development opportunities
IASBO supports additional funding for professional development to be used in conjunction with school improvement plans, teacher mentoring and teacher evaluation.
• Funding Future Education Initiatives
Fund future education initiatives to assure the most advantageous learning environment for all students
IASBO recommends the General Assembly fund future education initiatives in a responsible manner (such as universal Pre-K programs) to ensure the most optimum learning environment exists for all students. IASBO supports educational concepts and initiatives that will narrow the achievement gap and provide enhanced learning opportunities for all Indiana public school students.
D. Indiana School Business Officials Leadership Academy
• The funding for the Indiana School Business Officials Leadership Academy should continue
IASBO recommends that the state funding for the Indiana School Business Officials Leadership Academy continue in the state budget. The Academy focuses on the future fiscal leaders who will be responsible for the funding decisions of Indiana public schools.
II. School Business Management Issues
A. Circuit Breaker Tax Cap Waiver
• The current waiver procedure for protected taxes should be extended through 2021.
IASBO recommends that the waiver procedure for circuit breaker tax caps be extended to 2021. The waiver assists approximately 90 school corporations with the loss of property taxes because of the constitutionally imposed tax caps.
B. Tax Incremental Financing Debt Operating Balance
• Tax Incremental Financing (TIF’s) should operate with a maximum debt operating balance of 50% and revert dollars not needed for the balance to the appropriate political subdivisions.
IASBO recommends that TIF’s operate like political subdivisions regarding debt operating balances. Political subdivisions have a 50% debt operating balance for debt incurred before June 30, 2014. TIF’s should have the same restriction that would provide excessive funds to be distributed to political subdivisions and assist with the negative impact of circuit breakers.
C. Agricultural Assessed Valuation Study
• The Agricultural Assessed Valuation provision passed by the 2016 General Assembly should have further analysis
IASBO recommends that a study be conducted to review the farm land AV issue that has a negative impact on the property tax levies for numerous school corporations. A study on these negative aspects should be completed to determine the appropriate legislative actions on this issue.
D. Fiscal Questions Regarding the Graduation Pathways
• There should be a thorough review of the Graduation Pathways provision to determine the fiscal impact regarding the implementation of this new process.
IASBO supports a study be made on the cost of the Graduation Pathways concept. The Graduation Pathways for graduating seniors will have a fiscal impact that is not currently in school corporation budgets.
E. School Corporations Should Be Exempt from the State Special Fuel Surcharge
• The current law dealing with the state special fuel surcharge should be amended to exempt school corporations.
IASBO recommends that school corporations be exempt from the state special fuel surcharge. Currently school corporations pay the tax and then request a refund from the state for the amount of the tax. With the current process, there is additional work and time for both school corporations and the Department of Revenue.
F. School Safety Issues
• The safety of public school students and staff is a paramount priority for Indiana’s school corporations.
IASBO recommends a continuing priority of seeking additional financial and technical support for school safety issues. This would include maintaining the funding for safety grants, eliminating the matching process for the grants, and allowing the grants to be used social, emotional and mental health needs of students. New opportunities for funding equipment and facilities for school safety should be pursued.
G. Kindergarten ADM Cut-off Date
• The current law that a student must be at least five-years old on August 1 to be included in the ADM count should amended to specify a September 1 date for inclusion in the count.
IASBO supports the changing the statute for counting five-year olds in the ADM count each year to September 1. The September 1 is closer to the past practice of waivers for early admission before the date of August 1 was established by the 2018 General Assembly.
H. School Calendars Should be a Local Decision
• School calendars are created by the local school board, school administration, teachers and the public, and there should not be a state mandate on when schools should begin classes.
IASBO recommends that there be no state mandate on when a school corporation should begin the school year. That should continue to be a local decision. School calendars are determined with the input of parents and local citizens to meet the academic needs of students.
I. Teacher Appreciation Grants
• The Teacher Appreciation Grant statute should be amended to provide school corporations 60 days to provide the grant increase to teachers (current law is 20 days).
IASBO recommends that school corporations have 60 days to distribute the Teacher Appreciation Grants to teachers. The current law states that the monies must be distributed within 20 days of receipt of the grant. The extra time will provide the corporation business office additional time to make the distribution and provide them an opportunity to highlight the stipend after the holidays.
J. Revision to Transfer Tuition Statute
• The current transfer tuition statute should be revised so that the billing goes to the school corporation receiving the state funding for the student rather than the school corporation of legal settlement for the student.
IASBO recommends that transfer tuition billing should go to the school corporation who receives the state funding for the student rather than the school corporation of legal settlement. This is a fairness issue since the corporation of legal settlement does not receive state funding for the student in question.
School Corporation Notices for Transfers
The Department of Local Government Finance has received questions relating to the notices required by the following statutes:
• IC 20-40-2-6: Transfers from education fund to operations fund.
• IC 20-40-2-7: Transfers to closeout general fund.
• IC 20-40-18-11: Transfers to education fund.
In each case, the Department’s interpretation is that the statutes are speaking to regular open-door law requirements. It is not the Department’s interpretation that a separate newspaper advertisement pertaining specifically to these transfers is required. Indiana’s public access counselor concurs with the Department’s interpretation.