School funding in the State of Indiana was discussed during Tuesday’s Culver School Board meeting. Interim Superintendent Chuck Kitchell shared some statistics about the amount of money Culver receives and how that compares to other schools.
He says Culver’s funding has dropped significantly since 2009, the year the funding formula was changed. “That year, we received $6,792 in ADM funding per student,” Kitchell says. “We had 1,076 students. We had a General Fund budget of approximately $7.3 million that year. Compare that to 2016, our ADM funding per student is $5,980, which is a decrease in $812 in that seven-year time period.”
Locally, Kitchell says that Plymouth, North Judson-San Pierre, and Culver all experienced a drop in funding between 2015 and the projected 2017 figures. “Of those three schools, Culver is dramatically the largest decrease in funding over those three years,” he says. “So when you hear us talk about we don’t have money to give raises, we don’t have money for things, our ADM funding may be a little higher than some of the other schools, but we’ve lost so much funding, we’ve had to cut, cut, cut, and cut to try to keep up with it.” According to Kitchell, charter schools tend to see higher levels of funding than traditional public schools.
School board member Bill Sonnemaker proposed teaming up with other school corporations to have the funding issue brought up during the upcoming gubernatorial debates, “If the numbers that I have seen in the past are true – where there’s $12,000 per student or more than that – then why isn’t, we’ll say, 90 percent of that $12,000 going to the individual schools, rather than $5,000 or $6,000, as we see in these numbers? The other question is, do they propose to continue central control out of Indianapolis and support federal control out of Washington or turn the clock back and go back to giving control of the schools to the local school district?”
The Culver School Board recently joined a list of small, rural school corporations asking state officials for increased financial support. Kitchell says he’s somewhat optimistic that opinions are being changed among state-level officials.