• Bill Raines

Education Funding Never Was Simple Math

LAWRENCE COUNTY - (February 10, 2022) - The education of children has many variables now. The days of a one room classroom of educating children are over. But the funding of Indiana Schools is not simple math either.


Try to ask a school board member of how they receive funding and the majority cannot tell you, and most cannot tell you the formula that the state uses to decide which school corporation receives what funding.






Indiana’s Education Funding Explained - Highlights


  • On average, a 20-student school corporation classroom receives $201,902 in combined state, local, and federal government financial support

  •  Indiana traditional public school teachers were paid an average of $50,937 during the 2018- 2019 school year, according to the National Education Association (NEA).

  •  Indiana public school teachers were paid an average of $56,175 when adjusted for cost- of-living differences, ranking in the top half of states nationally (22nd highest).

  •  Data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that between the 2007-2008 and 2016-2017 school years, traditional public school enrollment decreased by 3% and the number of teachers decreased by 3.5%.

 However, the number of public school administrative staff increased by 31% over the same time period.


  •  $12.43B was spent on K-12 education in Indiana during the 2017-2018 school year (total state, local, and federal government spending).

 This equates to an average of $10,095 in per student funding for traditional public schools.


  •  $7.3B was invested in K-12 state tuition support for the 2019-2020 school year (FY 2020) and $7.5B in state tuition support was appropriated for the 2020-2021 school year (FY 2021).

  •  This equates to an average of $6,795 in per student state funding for traditional public schools (the average voucher award for the 2018-2019 school year was just $4,422).

  •  73% (or $785M) of all new General Fund spending in the new state budget went to K-12 education, when Department of Child Services (DCS) and Medicaid are excluded.

  •  K-12 spending accounted for more than half of the overall state budget.

 The state has increased annual K-12 tuition support by $1.2B between FY 2012 and FY 2021.  This equates to an 18% increase in state funding over nine years.


  •  Student population will increase by only 4% over the same period.

  •  Indiana ranked 3rd in the nation, after Vermont and Kansas, for the highest percentage share of its state budget dedicated to K-12 education (National Association of State Budget Officers).

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 During the 2018-2019 school year, the vast majority of traditional public school teachers received a raise according to the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board (EERB).


  •  82% of public school teachers received a base salary increase of $1,299 on average.

  •  According to the EERB report, traditional public school teachers were paid an average of $52,737, which is slightly higher than the number reported by the NEA.

  •  A 4.6% increase over EERB’s 2017-2018 average teacher salary data: $50,425.  62% of public school teachers received a one-time stipend of $897 on average.

  •  Only 58.1% of Indiana public school expenditures made it to the classroom during the 2016- 2017 school year (FY 2017), according to the Office of Management & Budget’s latest figures.

 In 2016, Indiana had the 3rd lowest percentage in the nation (41.5%) of total public K-12 staff serving as classroom teachers according to March 2019 NCES data.


Proud sponsor of the Lawrence County Zephyr




After spending bills passed through Congress in December 2020 and March 2021 the federal aid package to Indiana schools was estimated at $2.6 billion and the schools have until 2024 to spend the money.


North Lawrence received a total of $11,185,112 which equates to $2,577 per student.


Some of the money has to be used for specific purposes, such as learning loss programs, but otherwise schools can spend the money however they like. Facility improvements, mental health services and technology are also allowed.


North Lawrence Community Schools Budget Totaled just over $50 Million in 2022.

  • Rainy Day Fund - $2.5 Million

  • Debt Service - $2.5 Million - Total Debt for NLCS is $29.2 million

  • Pension Fund - ( Principal to debt) - $650,000

  • Pension Fund - ( Interest to debt) -$145,000

  • Education Fund - $29.5 Million

  • Operation Fund - $12.6 Million


QUESTIONS REMAIN ON BENEFITS OF RIGHT SIZING NLCS


  • With the reduction of school facilities how will this translate into savings for the taxpayers?

  • What impacts do school closings have on the communities that lose these facilities?

  • After the removal of middle school students from Ooltitic Middle School will this translate into the closure of Needmore Elementary due to empty classroom space at Dollens Elementary School?

  • How much staff reduction will be needed following the transferring of students?

  • Did the upcoming election haten the need for this process to be completed on the current time frame?

  • What data is driving the current recommendations?

The Lawrence County Zephyr will continue to monitor this process.


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