The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our state in many ways. Like the rest of the nation, Indiana’s economy is taking a big hit, and the governor has ordered most state agencies to hold back 15% of their funding for next year. In addition, funding for our higher education state institutions will see about a 7% holdback.
Despite these budget challenges, Indiana’s years of building up “rainy day” reserves means that we will be able to fully fund K-12 as planned as the upcoming school year begins, though the long-term budget situation is largely dependent upon the performance of the economy moving forward.
Our most recent state budget includes a $763 million increase in K-12 funding. With K-12 funding making up half of our General Fund expenses, sparing K-12 schools from budget holdbacks truly demonstrates where Indiana’s priorities lie.
Further, with many schools looking to implement a virtual learning option for those students who would have otherwise attended school in person if not for the unknowns surrounding the coronavirus, I’m pleased to see the governor and legislative fiscal leaders say that they intend to fully fund those students, rather than counting them as virtual students, which are funded at a lower amount. This will also give schools more budget certainty so they are able to continue providing our kids with a great education, regardless of the current difficult circumstances.
Our schools play such an important part in our communities and state, and I’m pleased to know that the plan is to continue ahead and fully fund schools for the upcoming school year.