Strengthening education for Hoosier students
As new technologies emerge, our society is more connected than ever before. Technology enables us to communicate in ways that were once considered science fiction. New words have entered our vocabulary, such as Skype and Face Time, and we have the ability to virtually attend meetings thousands of miles away with just a basic Internet connection.
As our world becomes more connected, students in Indiana are no longer competing on the local and national level; they are also competing against students around the world. It is essential then that our students have the necessary skills to compete and be successful, not only locally but globally as well, which begins with a quality education system.
Education has always been a top priority for House Republicans. Currently, funding for K-12 and higher education accounts for nearly two-thirds of the state’s budget. Indiana has seen great strides in education improvement, but there is still work to do. That is why I am proud that our 2015 legislative agenda looks at different ways we can improve our education system. By reviewing the school funding formula and focusing dollars in the classroom, we can help more Hoosier students succeed.
Since improving education will be one of our main goals next session, understanding how the formula works is critical. There is a foundation amount that each school receives per student which is the starting point of the funding formula and can be thought of as the minimum guarantee. After the foundation level is established, additional dollars can be provided to schools based on certain variables like how many low-income, special education, career and technical education and honors diploma students a school has in attendance.
Based on our current formula, there is major disparity between the per student dollar amounts that schools across the state receive. By reviewing the formula next session, we will work to lessen that gap, ensure more fairness in funding and consider ways we can raise the foundation level of education spending in order to benefit all Hoosier schools.
By working with teachers, administrators and parents, we can find innovative ways to focus more dollars on the classroom and further benefit students. House Republicans have a proven history of ensuring that money follows the student. In 2006, legislation was passed that required Indiana to track the percentage of education funding that was used in the classroom.
Our track record is evidence that we are dedicated to improving education in our state, and I look forward to building on that momentum next session so that more Hoosier students can compete on a local, national and global scale.
Rep. Ober represents all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.