LAGRANGE – Indiana’s general fund has grown faster than inflation since 2009, but public school funding has not.
That was one of the messages from Southwest Allen County Schools Superintendent Dr. Phil Downs as he spoke last night at Lakeland Jr/Sr High School.
Downs has spent countless hours drilling down into Indiana’s budget numbers and reached some conclusions that he shared last night.
Over the last ten years inflation grew at 16.6% but the state’s education budget grew by 13.3%.
Downs says the expansion of the voucher program has a real cost for every school district in the state.
"I am convinced after a number of conversations that [lawmakers] don't realize that some of those tax dollars were going somewhere else from tuition support. If you think about it this way: The number of vouchers you have in your community times that average produces a dollar amount that is coming to be spent in your local economy. And you have a loss because of the cost of the voucher program. If you add those together, you get a positive or negative impact in your community. In other words, the voucher program is shifting dollars -- somewhere."
In LaGrange County that shift is a net loss of close to $900-thousand dollars, since the only school that received vouchers – Howe Military – has closed.
Downs also said the numbers also break down a myth that students move around after the student count day in September.
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