Wright plan to ensure data drives decisions behind new education policies is defeated

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INDIANAPOLIS – Efforts by Representative Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown) to delay the implementation of a proposed cap on education funding were defeated today by the Indiana House majority.

Wright offered the amendment to House Bill 1003 to give the General Assembly time to study data before implementing the legislation’s proposed 15 percent cap on education funding that can be allocated toward a school’s Operating Fund. The amendment was defeated on a party-line vote.

“I have serious concerns that this bill would place restrictions on how local school corporations can budget their money without any justification,” Wright said. “Why 15 percent? Where did that figure come from?”

In 2017, the Legislature approved a law that reorganized school budgets so that they were separated into an Education Fund and an Operation Fund before January 1, 2019.

That law also required the Board of Accounts to track and report the implementation of these two funds in four key areas: student academic achievement expenditures, student instructional support expenditures, overhead and operation expenditures, and nonoperational expenditures.

“The data from this study started to become available only last month (January 2019), which makes it premature for us to determine whether or not it makes sense for House Bill 1003 to include language that would put a 15 percent cap on Operation Fund expenditures,” Wright said.

“We shouldn’t be putting the cart before the horse when it comes to developing education policies that impact our schools and our children,” said Wright. “My amendment was about plain common sense: wait until we’ve had a chance to study the data before we implement a policy that would restrict how our school boards can allocate funding from the state.”

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