Virtual School Meanderings

July 3, 2009

Indiana Legislators Finally Pass State Budget – Includes New Virtual School Pilot

inacolThis was posted a few days ago to one of the iNACOL forums.

Legislators finally pass state budget — 2 years, $27.8B

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s lawmakers passed a $27.8 billion, two-year budget Tuesday that supporters touted as a triumph in a recession.

Critics said it came at the expense of students in urban and rural districts.

The Democrat-controlled House voted 62-37 for the budget, with 14 of the 52 Democrats joining all 48 Republicans in supporting it. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 34-16, with four Democrats joining 30 of the 33 Republicans in voting for the plan.

Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the budget into law at 8:05 p.m., less than four hours before the previous budget expired, averting a government shutdown.

Daniels, in a statement, said that while the budget has defects, “it meets the fundamental condition I laid down in January and every day since: to limit spending enough to preserve our surplus and thereby protect taxpayers against the tax increases happening in virtually every other state.”

The budget keeps $1 billion in Indiana’s reserves.

Opponents, though, said the money could have been tapped to ensure no school district would see a funding cut. They also were upset about dollars shifting from schools with declining enrollments, which typically are urban and rural, to growing school districts, typically suburban.

And they chafed that the budget directs dollars to alternatives to public education, starting a pilot project for virtual online schools and creating a $2.5 million a year tax credit that benefits private schools.

Overall, the plan gives public schools a 1.1 percent increase in state funding in 2010 and a 0.3

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