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State Superintendent Asks For More School Funding

Last updated on Friday, March 22, 2013

(STATEHOUSE) - Indiana’s school superintendent says she is grateful for the boost in school spending in the House’s version of the budget, but also says she would like to see more.

Glenda Ritz asked for additional funding for K-through-12 schools to pay for additional professional development and to help high school students avoid remediation once they get to college.

Ritz also hopes the state will spend enough to make up what she is a projected loss of 26 million dollars in federal money due to sequestration.

She also asked for money outside the Department of Education's budget, saying nine (m) million dollars was needed to pay money that is due to Indianapolis Public Schools, as well as public schools in Gary. The payment is what's owed to the two school districts as a result of a court ruling in Marion County that struck down the way the Department of Education counted students last year and how state money was allocated based on that count.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Patrick McCarthy ruled last December that the state improperly counted students attending IPS and Gary schools that were taken over by the state.

Ritz says the count improperly shifted millions of dollars in state funding from the public school districts to the companies that were hired by the state to run the takeover schools. Tony Bennett, at the time serving out his term as State School Superintendent after his November election loss to Ritz, stated that the Department would appeal. But Ritz testified that it was her understanding that there would not be an appeal, hence her request for the Legislature to pay.

She adds that it is not feasible to take the money back from the companies operating the taken-over.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Kenley says he wants to check with the attorney general on the status of the lawsuit and a possible appeal. He says its his understanding that a decision on an appeal is up to the state school board alone.

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