Millions more to some schools, millions less to others under proposed budget

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 16, 2015) -- The proposed budget released by House Republicans on Monday deals largely in school funding, including a new formula that will change how much money each district receives.

The chair of the committee drafting the budget for 2016-17, State Rep. Tim Brown, R-District 41, said the budget will affect every school differently.

"(It's) the most money ever for K-12 education. ... We wanted to make sure that every student was accounted for in the state of Indiana," Brown said.

Accounting for every student means not every district is likely to be happy, though.

Overall, the proposed budget would doll out $469M more to schools over two years, with about $522 more per student. However, it would mean $306M less for "complexity," meaning money given to districts for free lunch, low-income students.

Looking at projected numbers provided by Republicans, Indianapolis Public Schools would lose roughly $14.7M over those two years. A suburban district would gain more. For example, Carmel would get an estimated $8.6M bump.

The difference comes because legislators proposed a change to the funding formula, using a "dollars follow the child" approach that takes money away from districts like IPS with declining enrollment.

"We have an $8M shortfall right now," Wayne Township Superintendent Dr. Jeff Butts said.

It's an issue FOX 59 talked to Butts about weeks ago, as he and other Superintendents waiting to find out what the budget would look like. Wayne Township would gain an estimated $3M because of increasing enrollment, but the district is already making cuts because of property tax caps, Butts said.

Still, legislators who drafted the budget said the squeeze on schools is why they devoted more money to education in this budget.

"We're looking at raising all the boats up," Brown said.

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