Funding formula info graphic The numbers don’t lie. Overall, across the state education is grossly underfunded. It’s not urban versus rural versus suburban – it’s everyone. This legislative season Indianapolis Public Schools is focusing on four key areas—preschool, teacher resignation, takeover reform and the funding formula.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, the current funding formula is based on several moving parts including special education, full-day kindergarten, career technology and complexity. At the heart of the debate on the funding sits the complexity formula. How do you fund schools with higher numbers of students in poverty?

“The greatest injustice is to compare unequals as equals,” said IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee in a conversation on funding earlier this month. “You can’t begin to quantify the differences that go into the work that we do.”

In the last three years IPS has actually seen a decline in state funding of almost 20 percent, while enrollment has declined only three (3) percent. The amount of funding per pupil has also declined by over 16 percent. (See table).
 
IPS funding table  
 
The complexity index funding helps fill the gap for programs like special education, preschool and English language learning.

IPS is ready to work with both public and private partners to ensure equal funding and services for everyone. “I’d love to see consolidation within our city to share services. We need to be smarter with funding,” Ferebee said.

Some examples of partnerships include working with charter schools, like Enlace Academy, to share building space under Public Law 1321. IPS is also working with IndyGo to investigate how student transportation can be more efficient throughout the district.

“We’re proud of all the students that come through our doors everyday,” Ferebee said. “We can’t put a price tag on what it costs to educate our students so that they can be highly successful in post-secondary education and career pursuits. The educational needs of all students across the state must be addressed, but it shouldn’t be done by taking resources from one corporation.”