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Study: Indiana’s Failure to Maintain School Funding Has Put Schools in a Billion Dollar Hole

Indiana’s investment in public schools in recent years has lagged compared to regional neighbors and a majority of the U.S. – creating a large deficit from which the state will need to allocate a significant investment to catch up regionally and nationally. That is the conclusion of a study released today evaluating Indiana’s funding for public education and teacher compensation. 

The comprehensive study of Indiana’s public-school funding and teacher compensation reached several conclusions, among which are:

  • Indiana ranks below average nationally and fails to compete with nearly all neighboring states in funding public schools.
  • Average teacher salaries in Indiana are below average compared to the nation and lower than its neighboring states.
  • Indiana has lost substantial ground to neighboring states in public-school funding and teacher pay in recent years.

The study concludes that Indiana would need to increase its investment in public schools by nearly $1.5 billion to reach the average of neighboring states and more than $3.3 billion to return Indiana to its previous national ranking just five years ago.

ISTA President Teresa Meredith pointed to the survey in urging lawmakers and the governor to make significant investments to public-education funding in the current legislative session.

“Whether it is this study released today, or other rankings, we know this – Indiana has fallen behind on investing in our kids and the professional men and women who work hard daily to provide them with a quality education,” said Meredith. “We don’t expect legislators to fix this funding deficit overnight, but we do believe legislators can do better than what the current proposed budget offers. If we’re serious about our kids’ futures, we need to get serious about doing what works. That means investing in educators, paying them as professionals and making sure our kids have the resources they need to be successful and productive citizens.”

The school funding study was authored by Dr. Robert Toutkoushian, professor of higher education at the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Institute of Higher Education and underwritten by ISTA to determine Indiana’s status on school funding going into the 2019 budget-writing legislative session.

The complete study can be found on ISTA’s website.