Vic’s Statehouse Notes #376 – The final budget is not always the final budget

by | Apr 29, 2023 | 2023 Legislative Session, Indiana Legislature, IPS, Privatization, School Funding, State Budget, Statehouse Notes

Now we’ve learned that the final budget is not always the final budget.

By most accounts, cries of agony by school superintendents to their Senators over low funding levels in the second year of the budget led Senate leaders to begin additional school funding negotiations with the House through the afternoon of Thursday, April 27.

Under pressure from Speaker Huston to finish the session on Thursday night, a new school funding deal was struck late Thursday afternoon. Waiving the rule requiring a 24-hour review allowed both the House and the Senate to pass the budget and adjourn after midnight.

Unlike the bipartisan vote for the 2021 budget when extra money made everyone happy, the vote on this budget was generally along party lines: 70-27 in the House and 39-10 in the Senate.

What Changed in the Final Final Budget?

Despite the stories of concerns about the second year of the budget, the numbers show that the first year of the budget got most of the new infusion of money.

Here are the details:

The budget deal announced with great fanfare on Wednesday (Conference Committee Report 2) gave $8.692 Billion for tuition support in the first year (up 6.0% from the previous year) and $8.8659 Billion for tuition support in the second year (up 2.0% from the first year of the budget).

The budget deal reworked on Thursday (Conference Committee Report 5) gave $8.840 Billion in the first year (up 7.8%) and 9.030 Billion in the second year (up 2.2% from the first year).

The final budget (Conference Committee Report 5), when compared to Conference Committee Report 2 gave $148 million more to tuition support in the first year and $16.1 million additional in the second year. Remember that $148 million additional in the first year must be repeated in the second year to go with additional second year increases. Therefore, $148 million plus $148 million plus $16.1 million equals $312.1 million dollars that was added to the two-year budget after the last minute negotiations.

The media reported that $312 million to pay for this change came from a reduction in the amount to be used to pay down the debt for pre-1996 teacher retirement.

Clearly, $312 million more for tuition support is a great outcome for the renegotiations. It does leave new questions, however, about the difficulties that may be ahead for some school districts in the second year of the budget when increases shrink remarkably.

Compare the final new budget to the previous eight budgets and previous 2023 proposals

Click this link to see the revised chart showing how four budget proposals stack up compared to the eight previous budgets:

1) the Governor’s budget plan announced January 5;
2) the House Republican budget plan announced February 17;
3) the Senate Republican budget plan announced April 13.
4) the final version announced April 26.
5) the final final version passed on April 27.

The final version of the budget lifts funding 7.8% in the first year and 2.2% in the second year of the budget.


Source: The summary cover page from the General Assembly’s School Formulas for each budget and House Bill 1001 (the budget bill) in each year.

Prepared by Dr. Vic Smith, 4-28-23

When the school funding formulas are passed every two years by the General Assembly, legislators see the bottom-line percentage increases on a summary page. Figures that have appeared on this summary are listed below for the last eight budgets that I have personally observed as they were approved by the legislature.

Tuition support and dollar increases have been rounded to the nearest $10 Million.

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Vic’s Statehouse Notes and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

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Vic Smith is a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969, serving as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor.

Vic received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, he was named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education and received the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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