Chesterton Tribune

 

 

State funding for Duneland below average; charters get the most

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Duneland Schools canceled classes Monday due to one of the snowiest February blizzards on record, but the School Board defied the weather to meet and hear School Superintendent Dave Pruis tell how Duneland fares in the latest state funding formula.

State base support for public schools in 2015 is $4,587 per student in the Average Daily Membership count taken in September and February. Factored into the final amount is “the complexity index” which calculates additional dollars determined on the proportion of low-income students a school district has.

Duneland’s state ADM support is $5,210.83 for the 2015 Fiscal Year, a .19 percent increase from 2014. It falls between other corporations in Porter County. Portage Schools have the highest ADM support with $5,825 per student and East Porter County Schools the lowest with $5,043 per student.

With the exception of Portage Schools, all county school districts fall below the Indiana average ADM student support of $5,770 for 2015.

The information, which Pruis said was researched and supplied by the business administrator at Lake Central Schools, shows that the average total funding for conventional public schools was $5,736 per student while Charter Schools on average got $6,567.

“You can draw your own conclusions from that,” said Pruis, who has often spoken out on the disparity in state support between school districts and charters.

Of the top 20 schools that receive state funding, 18 of them are charters. That list does not include the nearby Discovery Charter School, which typically receives about the same ADM funding as Duneland.

The only two public school districts in the top 20 were Schools of East Chicago and the Gary Community School Corporation.

Pruis said what has largely impacted schools negatively over the past five years is the Indiana Legislature’s decision to cut public education funding by $300 million in 2010. “It’s never come back,” he said.

School Board President Ralph Ayres said the time will soon arrive when state legislators will configure the school funding formula in the new two-year budget. There are about three weeks left for bills to be heard, he said.

Local legislative forums will be taking place over the next couple weeks, Ayres said, with the ISTA Dunes Shore District Council breakfast at Michigan City High School set for this Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

The Porter County Retired Teachers Association will be hosting a forum for Porter County legislators on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. in the Portage High School Auditorium.

Snow Make-up Days/Calendar

Monday’s school cancellation will be made up on Friday, April 24, Pruis said. The schools already need to make up two days from January’s extreme cold temperature cancellations and will be in session on Friday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 16.

The surge of snow days this year and last seemed to perplex Pruis, who said he remembers in his first years at Duneland, “we didn’t have as much as a delay. That’s obviously changed.”

Meanwhile, the board passed a favorable motion to set the 2015-16 school calendar. All dates and breaks will correspond with the current school year. The first day for students will be Aug. 19.

In other comments, Pruis said Duneland will observe this week as National School Guidance Counselor Week.

ISTEP questions

Also, Getz wanted to share that Indiana Superintendent of Public Schools Glenda Ritz has a video on the Indiana Department of Education’s website that helps parents engage with their children as they hear questions that will be like the ones on the new ISTEP tests this year.

He said to look for the light-bulb shaped button on the webpage to see the video and the questions.

“All they have to do is follow along. It will be beneficial to our students, so be sure to take a look,” he said.

The tests have been designed to be focused more towards college and career readiness, Getz said.

Teachers in Duneland are already working the new approach into their curriculum, Getz said.

Security Grant

In other news, Duneland Safety and Security Director Steve Rohe said the school corporation has received a $50,000 Secured School Safety Grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

The funds will be used to help install card readers and cameras at the two intermediate schools and Brummitt Elementary.

Rohe said he will continue to pursue more grants like this in the future.

Postponed

The snow kept away representatives from Bailly Elementary as well as the Boys and Girls Club Duneland Unit which were scheduled on the agenda. Pruis said they will present at the board’s next meeting on March 2.

 

Posted 12/3/2015

 
 
 
 

 

 

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