State Funding Formula Change Hurts Small Schools

West Central School CorporationSmall school corporations throughout the state are feeling a pinch in the pocketbook thanks to changes in the state’s per-pupil funding formula. West Central Superintendent Don Street says state tuition support is down significantly over last year.

“Each student was $6,255. After the state legislature changed the complexity grant throughout the state, we are now getting $5,829 per student, which is a significant drop from what the state average is that the state legislature was discussing earlier, which was considerably over $6,000.”

The state tuition support money goes into each corporation’s general fund, which covers the cost of salaries and programs. Street says West Central is not the only corporation affected.

“Most small school districts will see a significant decrease in state funding because of the change in the complexity grant by the state legislature. I think that’s an important factor for all schools with small enrollments in how that’s going to affect school funding.”

For instance, Street says the change resulted in a cut of more than $300,000 for West Central.

In addition to the change in the complexity formula, Street says West Central’s enrollment is down by 46 students this year from 861 in 2014-15 to 815 in 2015-16. Last year 73 seniors graduated. This year’s kindergarten class has 51 students.