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Boost in School Funding Clears Committee, Heads for House and Senate Floor

Enrollment surge leaves IPS, other schools with more students than budget envisioned

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The House and Senate could vote next week on giving schools extra money.

Indiana's traditional public schools have 6,000 more students than expected -- the Indianapolis Public Schools alone account for a fifth of those, after more than a decade of declining enrollment. That means the pool of money set aside for schools is stretched thinner. 

Bills approved by House and Senate committees would tap at least $16 million from a school reserve fund, to increase the amount every school gets per pupil. Senate Appropriations Chairman Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen) says the extra funding could reach as high as $25 million -- the final figure will be set after schools report special-education enrollment numbers next month.

Even schools which haven't gained students would get more money for the ones they do have.

Mishler says it's not clear where all those extra students came from. A decline in charter school students explains about half of them, and may account for all of the increase in IPS due to partnerships IPS has struck with some charters. Mishler says the rest could be new Hoosiers from out of state, or homeschoolers who switch to public high schools to participate in extracurricular activities.

(Photo: Jetta Productions/Thinkstock)

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