Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pence's Budget Raises Eyebrows

Governor Mike Pence's first budget has raised some concerns from educational advocates about the way that it will fund education.

Pence plans a 10 percent cut in income taxes across the board.  Of course, Indiana's income tax is one tax that now funds schools since the property tax reforms of a few years back.  On top of that, Pence's increases in education do not keep up with the recent average rate of inflation.  Finally, he ties funding increases to academic improvement.  None of these things benefit struggling inner city school districts in the state.  As my friend, Kelly Kennedy Bentley, an educational reform advocate and former IPS School Board Member said, "This is really a bad idea."

So, as costs go up with the rate of inflation, funding will remain behind that and there's no guarantee you'll get more money.  Granted, Pence has set up a pretty broad scoreboard for districts to show growth academically, but some districts or other schools won't make it.  The new Governor wants to expand career and technical education.

Time will tell how Pence's budget does once the House and Senate gets hold of it.  I think his tax cuts will likely shrink and I'm interested to see how education funding might be tweaked.  Of course, the Governor will have to sign off on the deal.  It's clear not everyone is exactly on board with Pence's budget.  After all, that would burn through a lot of revenue.

It's going to get interesting, I think.

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