House, Senate Disagree on Education Funding

Apr 10, 2015

Sen. Luke Kenley says, among other things, universities should not have to raise tuition because of additional higher ed money allocated in the new state budget.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Senate Republicans

The Senate released its version of the state budget Thursday, outlining a method to fund schools different from that proposed by the House.

There are two pots of money when it comes to school funding: foundation and complexity. Foundation is the amount of money the state gives every student. Complexity is the money allocated toward low-income students.

The biggest difference between the House and Senate budgets is how a student qualifies for complexity money.

The House wanted to give it to students qualifying for free lunch. The Senate wants to change that to students in foster care or those receiving food stamp or welfare benefits. They say this would put a little more complexity money back to schools with a lot of low-income students.

Other education items addressed in the Senate budget: the state’s new version of the ISTEP+, which test vendors are currently bidding to administer. There is more money being allocated for teacher raises and $25 million for structural changes at regional campuses.

More money is also being allocated to higher education, so Senate appropriations chair Luke Kenley says universities shouldn’t have to raise tuition over the next few years.

The budget goes to the Senate appropriations committee and then to the full Senate floor.