Call to Action
Please join ICPE and other educational groups for a rally to improve K-12 public school funding this Tuesday, April 18 at the Statehouse at 3:30 p.m. More details about the rally and the current state of the State budget can be read here.
Education Bills to Be Concurred by the Senate
More details can be found here.
SB 196 - School debt service obligations. Provides the following for purposes of the school bond payment intercept statute: (1) The term "debt service obligations" also includes principal and interest payable to a school corporation's designated paying agent under a written agreement entered into in connection with the issuance of a school corporation's general obligation bonds. (2) Upon being notified of a school corporation's failure to pay debt service obligations when due, the treasurer of state shall within five days pay the unpaid debt service obligations that are due from state funds, in an amount equal to the amount of the unpaid debt service obligations that are due to the claimant (but only to the extent that amounts are available to the treasurer of state to fulfill this requirement). (3) The treasurer of state shall provide notice of the request by a claimant to the budget director, the auditor of state, and any department or agency of the state responsible for distributing funds appropriated by the general assembly for distribution to the school corporation from state funds, and such a department or agency of the state shall transfer those funds to the treasurer of state for purposes of paying the unpaid debt service obligations. (4) The amounts made available to the treasurer of state for this purpose shall be made from the following sources and in the following order of priority: (A) First, from amounts appropriated by the general assembly for the state fiscal year for distribution to the school corporation from state funds. (B) Second, from any remaining amounts appropriated by the general assembly for distribution for tuition support in each state fiscal year in excess of the aggregate amount of tuition support needed for distribution to school corporations. (C) Third, to the extent that the general assembly has adopted a biennial budget appropriating amounts in the immediately succeeding state fiscal year for distribution to the school corporation from state funds, then from such fund or account, as determined by the state budget director (from which fund or account there is appropriated to the treasurer of state an amount equal to the lesser of: (i) the unpaid debt service obligations not paid from the other sources; or (ii) the amount appropriated by the general assembly for the immediately succeeding state fiscal year for distribution to the school corporation). (5) If any amounts are transferred to the treasurer of state to pay the unpaid debt service obligations of the school corporation, the applicable department or agency shall recover those amounts by deducting an amount equal to the transfer from any future amounts to be distributed to the school corporation from state funds.
Education Bills to Be Concurred by the House
More details can be found here.
HB 1024 - Prayer in schools. Provides that a school corporation or charter school shall not discriminate against a student or a student's parent on the basis of a religious viewpoint or religious expression. Provides that students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Provides that public school students may pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during, and after the school day in the same manner and to the same extent that students may engage in nonreligious activities or expression. Provides that students in public schools may wear clothing, accessories, and jewelry that display religious messages or religious symbols in the same manner and to the same extent that other types of clothing, accessories, and jewelry that display messages or symbols are permitted. Requires the department of education, in collaboration with the attorney general's office and organizations with expertise in religious civil liberties, to establish a model policy. Provides that each school corporation may include as an elective in the school corporation's high school curriculum a course surveying religions of the world
Education Bill Being Reviewed in House Conference Committee
HB 1009 School financial management. Does the following, effective January 1, 2019: (1) Eliminates the school general fund. (2) Creates an education fund to be used as the exclusive fund to pay expenses allocated to student instruction and learning. (3) Creates an operations fund to replace the capital projects fund, the transportation fund, the school bus replacement fund, an art association or a historical society fund, and the public playground fund. Provides that the state board of accounts shall before January 1, 2019, develop a chart of accounts to be used by school corporations to reflect the implementation of the education fund and the operations fund. Provides that the levy for a school corporation's operations fund consists of the following separately calculated levies: (1) A transportation levy. (2) A school bus replacement levy. (3) A capital projects levy. (4) For certain schools, levies to provide funding for an art association, a historical society, or a public playground. Provides that on January 1, 2019, the balance in the school corporation's general fund shall be transferred to the education fund. Specifies that before March 1, 2019, the governing body of a school corporation may transfer to the school corporation's operations fund, from the amounts transferred from the school corporation's general fund, any amounts that are not allocated to student instruction and learning. Allows transfers between the education fund and operations fund. Allows a school corporation to request authorization from the state board of accounts to op out of examination requirements by the state board of accounts and instead contract with a certified public accountant for an annual financial audit. Provides new allowable expenditures from the operations fund to include all skilled trades, school maintenance vehicles, and contracted services related to buildings and grounds. Eliminates the requirement to publish the entire capital projects plan and school bus replacement plan. Removes the approval of the plans and appropriations by the department of local government finance. Eliminates various dedicated funds and moves the purpose for each of these funds to the education fund or operations fund. Creates the school corporation referendum controlled project tax levy fund to pay for projects approved by a voter referendum. Makes corresponding changes. Extends (through 2019) the ability in current law for a school corporation to allocate circuit breaker credits proportionately (without taking protected taxes into account) under certain circumstances. Provides that a school corporation that has an ADM of more than 15,000 may not issue bonds after August 15, 2020, unless the school corporation has for its preceding budget year prepared an annual financial report using the modified accrual basis of accounting in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Provides that a county that has a population of more than 100,000 and a municipality that has a population of more than 75,000 may not issue bonds after June 30, 2020, unless the county or municipality has for its preceding budget year prepared an annual financial report using the modified accrual basis of accounting in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Allows the state examiner to waive these requirements if the state examiner determines that a waiver is in the best interest of the school corporation, county, or municipality. Replaces the provisions in current law (which would be phased in during 2017-2020) concerning annual financial report requirements that must be met before a school corporation, county, or municipality may issue bonds. Provides that effective July 1, 2017, a school corporation may not issue any bonds unless it has filed its annual financial report with the department of education. Provides that effective July 1, 2017, a county or municipality may not issue any bonds unless it has filed its annual financial report with the state examiner for the preceding fiscal year.