STATEHOUSE (June 25, 2012) — State Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) today proposed a legislative plan to reward Indiana’s highest performing public schools with additional state funding.
Under Hershman’s proposal, Indiana public school corporations achieving ISTEP+ pass rates of 85 percent or higher on both the math and English/language arts portions of the test would receive an extra $500 per passing student. Based on 2011 scores, the statewide total for these flat performance grants would amount to approximately $17 million.
“State officials need a tool to reward high-performing schools in Indiana,” Hershman said. “It’s my hope this proposal will do much more than reward schools, though. My goal is also to encourage all Indiana school corporations to perform. Hoosier youth deserve the best education possible.”
Currently, K-12 education funding accounts for more than half of Indiana’s general fund budget. This includes a remediation appropriation of approximately $3 million per year for schools who receive the lowest ISTEP+ scores in the state.
“If we’ve set aside funding for under-performing schools, it’s time we appropriate money to reward high-performing schools,” Hershman said. “I look forward to further discussing my proposal with Senate colleagues during the upcoming session.”
State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) said he supports Hershman’s legislation. Delph last session introduced a bill that would have designated "high-performing school corporations,” waiving certain statutes and rules for schools meeting or exceeding established benchmarks.
“It makes complete sense to tie education funding with performance,” Delph said. “Schools with high graduation rates, great student attendance and excellent testing, among other requirements, should have the support needed to continue to invest in success. For those schools that need a little push, hopefully this will incentivize them to meet higher standards.”
In 2011, 15 Indiana schools surpassed the proposed 85 percent threshold. For a full list of 2011 school scores, visit http://www.doe.in.gov/achievement/assessment/istep-results-spring-2011.