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State’s budget cut for schools require creative strategies

When it comes to funding, education is one of those areas that, ideally, is never trimmed. But, spending on K-12 education makes up nearly half of the state’s annual spending plan ‘ or about $6.4 billion each year ‘ so it’s obvious as to why it’s right in the crosshairs for cutbacks.
Gov. Mitch Daniels said a projected shortfall of $1.8 billion in tax revenue will mean $300 million in cuts for state aid to K-12 education during the next 18 months. After months of resisting cuts to public education, Daniels said the cuts are now unavoidable.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett says he has ‘every confidence in the world’ that $300 million in proposed budget cuts for the state’s public schools won’t cost teachers their jobs in the year ahead.
Cutting $300 million from the budget, without teachers losing jobs and without sacrificing teaching efficiency due to larger class sizes, seems fairly disingenuous.
It appears the state favors controlling school funding but being pro-local control when dealing with the substantial cuts that are primarily a result of the state’s own decisions.
Don’t be surprised if some of Indiana’s smaller school corporations ‘ particularly those the size of Lanesville’s ‘ wind up being consolidated, which was a goal of Daniels in the not-so-distant past.
Does Daniels’ call for the elimination of township government and local government units, or his request that some schools consolidate, sound familiar? It seems as though the governor, with a budget surplus he refuses to touch, is playing the education cutback as his ace in the hole, and the losers are going to be our students.
Some of the items on the Citizens’ Checklist thought to be over-the-top ‘ eliminating matches to retirement plans, freezing salaries and benefits of all certified staff, reducing the number of sports, clubs and academic teams offered by the corporation, reconfiguring of buildings within a corporation to reduce administrative, operation and support staff costs ‘ when the form was sent to schools are suddenly becoming more of a possibility of actually happening.
Is it that serious? You bet.
While our local school boards sometimes catch grief for the jobs they do, they will surely be looking for help when it comes to thinking outside of the box to save corporations hundreds of thousands of dollars. They’ll need to think outside of the box to get through the state’s current economic mess.