STATEHOUSE (Jan. 24, 2014) – State Sen. Randy Head’s (R-Logansport) legislation to give flexibility to school systems facing transportation budget constraints passed the Senate Committee on Appropriations Thursday with a vote of 12-0 .
Senate Bill 163 would allow schools that have lost at least 20 percent of their transportation fund levies due to circuit breakers to use money from other funds to pay for transportation.
“Plummeting assessed values for school corporations have created new challenges for school budgets. It’s up to state leaders to help schools deal with these challenges,” Head said. “If our students can’t get to school, they can’t get a good education. My hope is that Senate Bill 163 will provide these schools with the capability to keep their transportation systems running efficiently.”
Chuck Brimbury, superintendent of Peru Community School Corporation, testified in committee that SB 163 would help offset his school’s declining revenue and keep their bus systems running. Peru schools currently have a 71 percent free and reduced lunch rate, yet have managed to bring their school grade from an F to an A over the past few years.
SB 163 was amended with language from Senate Bill 70 before passage from committee. This language caps how much money school districts can keep in their debt service funds. The intent of the caps is to keep school districts from building up excessive debt service fund balances in order to increase their tax levies.
SB 163 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.