Cook’s school funding bill heads to the Senate

Posted by: Devan Strebing  | Monday, February 13, 2017 4:30 pm

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 13, 2017) — The House of Representatives today voted in support of State Rep. Tony Cook’s (R-Cicero) bill that would allow school corporations to direct more dollars to classrooms by providing more budgetary flexibility.

According to Cook, under the current structure, schools have rigid funding categories that can cause resources to become suspended and not available for use in other areas. Cook’s legislation would create two funds – an education fund and an operations fund – that would allow schools to transfer money between the two at their discretion. Expenditures for student learning, such as classroom equipment and teacher salaries, would be paid out of the education fund. Maintenance costs, capital projects, utilities, bus replacement and other operational needs would come out of the operations fund.

“In Indiana, over half of our state’s budget is directed to education, but only 57 percent of school funding reaches the classroom,” Cook said. “As a former teacher, principal and superintendent, I understand how beneficial it would be to have the flexibility to transfer undedicated funds from the operations fund into the education fund, which then can go directly into classrooms so that Hoosier students can receive a high-quality education.”

In addition to this restructuring, three of the four major school property tax levies – the capital, transportation and school bus replacement levies – would be consolidated into one operations levy. The revenue generated from this new levy would no longer be restricted by the current budgetary guidelines.

Cook’s bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration. For more information on House Bill 1009, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.

A high-resolution photo of Cook can be downloaded by clicking here.