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More Money For Education Overall Could Still Result In Less Money For Some Schools

K. W. Barrett

A new approach by the House could accelerate some big problems troubled schools are already facing.

Indiana is following a national trend that indicates rural populations are in a steady decline, while urban and suburban communities are growing.

A proposal by House Republicans would increase education funding, but continue the current practice of money "following the student."

That means rural districts with declining populations would lose even more funding, while districts that are gaining students would get more.

Jay County Schools Superintendent Tim Long says rural school administrators are in a tough position.

"It's not just the fact that the money follows the student," says Long. "It's the complexity and how the formula is put into public schools that makes it much more difficult to budget than it used to be."

Long says he doesn’t know how many students he’ll lose each year, and during the last 18 month budget cycle, his corporation had to cut 19 positions because of a declining student population.

Some urban school districts also stand to lose money. Indianapolis Public Schools would see its budget shrink by roughly $18 million over the next two years.

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