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Enrollment Miscalculation Leaves Public Schools $9 Million Short

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Miscalculation in enrollment is leaving a $9.3 million hole in state funding for public schools. The Indiana Department of Education’s annual student headcount shows some 6000 more students enrolled in public schools than lawmakers had budgeted for.

According to state statute, in the event tuition support exceeds the state’s annual appropriation, the Department of Education must proportionately reduce the amount of funding it sends to schools. In a memo released Friday, the Indiana Department of Education said it was still collecting data and can’t accurately predict how much the reduction in funding will be.

The memo reads in part: “The Department will complete its review as data collections continue and will make a preliminary determination soon, but recipients should be prepared for the potentiality that the awards may be reduced…. This reduction will impact all recipients, including school corporations, charter schools, choice scholarship recipients and Mitch Daniels Scholarship recipients.”

Because Indiana operates on a bi-annual budget cycle, the state budget passed in April is not slated to be addressed in 2018. But Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma say state lawmakers will address this particular fiscal issue in their 2018 legislative session, beginning in January.

Indiana Department of Education Communication’s Director Holly Stachler did not respond to a request for comment.

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