Are high-performing Indiana schools underfunded?

Some Indiana lawmakers feel the state’s highest performing school districts are being underfunded.

Ind. Rep. Timothy Wesco, (R) Osceola is among those who plan to fight for ‘equity’ in the school funding formula.

“The top ten worst performing school corporations in the state get 30 percent more in funding than the top ten best performing school corporations in the state,” said Rep. Wesco.

In Indiana, the average per pupil expenditure is $11,015.

Larger urban school districts like the South Bend Community Schools tend to exceed that average at $12,577 (Mishawaka’s per pupil expenditure is $12,100), while suburban or rural districts like Penn Harris Madison and John Glenn tend to be below the state average: PHM’s per pupil expenditure is $10,125 and John Glenn’s is $9,151.

“So we're kind of looking at that money and saying its, we're investing all this additional funding into these school corporations and we're not seeing a return,” said Rep. Wesco. “It's not bringing them up to the level of being the best so how could we be smarter about this?”

Rep. Wesco hopes that adjustments can be made without any district losing money in the process.

The 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly is scheduled to begin January 6th.

Urban districts typically receive more money because the current state funding formula provides additional dollars when a school population includes a lot of kids living in poverty.

For instance, more than 70 percent of students in the South Bend Schools qualify for free or reduced lunch, while the figure is just 28 percent in the PHM District.