Zionsville’s ace Chief Financial Officer, Mike Shafer, CPA, has a saying (in fact he has many that we often repeat around here). Mike’s saying about the funding formula for Indiana’s schools is, “Funding formula reform moves at a glacial pace.”
During most biennial budget years, Mike is exactly right. This year, thanks to his help, ZCS collaborated with several other Indiana school leaders, boards, chambers of commerce, and city/town councils to help elevate the urgency of our lowest funded school kids, and the funding formula skipped over an ice age or two.
The House budget version is a bit of good news, yes. However, it is not over until the Conference Committee* meets and decides which Indiana students receive adequate funding in the coming biennium.
As you know, our students in ZCS continue to do without some basic student program offerings expected in Indiana communities. Our kids have had to do without typical school experiences like elementary PE/health by teaching experts in this field, appropriate class sizes, Project Lead the Way and more, since 2011. While the current proposed changes will not help us restore all of these programs, it is a move in the right direction. So, let’s not stop our gentle pressure of positive advocacy. I have met with all of our legislators, and they are trying to help us. Let’s be cordial and emphatic that we do vote and that we are watching.
ZCS Voices/Emailers Needed Just a Couple More Times This Session! For anyone reading this spring break blog, ZCS needs just a little help from many people once this week or next (before April 8) and once more when I signal it just prior to the end of the legislative session in late April.
For now (before April 8, 2015), please write to the following people with your own words about the following bullet points…
CONTENT: (In your own words, please!)
- Please support the House version of the funding formula.
- Our kids deserve equitable school funding.
- These changes do not make our schools whole again, but they move in the right direction on funding formula reform for the first time in years. Please support the House version!
- I am a taxpayer and a voter. Please consider my input as you deliberate.
- Thank you for serving the community and Indiana.
LOCAL LEGISLATOR RECIPIENTS: (Please email or phone and leave a message)
Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) – S7@in.gov – (317) 232-9840
Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) – S29@in.gov – (317) 232-9488
Sen. Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) – S23@in.gov – (317) 234-9054
Rep. Donna Schaibley (R-Carmel) – H24@in.gov – (317) 232-9863
Finally, please jot a quick thanks to the architects of the House version of retooled school funding.
Please consider a message of thanks to House Ways and Means leads on school funding, Rep. Tim Brown (HD41@in.gov), Rep. Jeff Thompson (H28@in.gov), and Rep. Todd Huston (H37@in.gov). These legislators supported reconfiguring the formula to bring up those of us at the bottom. We know we must now engage Senators to follow suit, and to perhaps find a complete fix to our inadequate per pupil support. We need these leaders on our side during Conference Committee* in the last days of the session. Thank them, please, for carrying this ball as far as they did.
Wherever this blog post finds the people of ZCS Nation—thanks for considering being heard this week and again late in April when you are called again. Your calls and emails DO MATTER—our legislators cannot know your position unless you tell them.
Scott Robison, Superintendent
Zionsville Community Schools
*Oversimplified, we are in step two of a three-step funding formula lawmaking session. Step one is the House version. Step two is the Senate version (due by April 9). Step three is a small “conference committee” of leading members from both houses (if the first two versions do not jibe just perfectly—which is usually the case). We need you now—before the Senate version is etched in stone—and at least once more before the conference committee convenes to iron out the legislative houses’ differences.