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Indiana Leaders Improve Education Funding and Accountability in 2015 Session

• ExcelinEd

Indiana State Actions

Indiana’s General Assembly passed several education bills to expand school choice and improve accountability before concluding its state legislative session in late April. ExcelinEd commends Governor Mike Pence, Speaker Brian Bosma, Senate President David Long and the Indiana Legislature for working to ensure quality in education for all students.

The General Assembly passed, and Governor Pence signed, laws to improve accountability for both traditional public schools and public charter schools. HB 1636 increases state oversight of charter authorizers by requiring prospective authorizers to disclose their strategic plans for authorizing and performance frameworks for charter applicants. Separately, HB 1638 accelerates the timelines for the State Board of Education to intervene with failing schools and also provides turnaround operators with a pro rata share of property-tax generated funding. The new law also allows the State Board of Education to withhold state funds from the district if the district does not work in good faith with the turnaround operator during the transition.

The biennial budget, HB 1001, removes the $4,800 cap in per-student voucher awards for grades 1-8, increases the donation cap of the state’s tax credit scholarship program and provides $10 million per year for charter school facilities based on individual charters’ performance.

SB 1 requires the State Board of Education to select its own chair from membership (effective January 2017) and also provides the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate with one board appointment each.

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