School Superintendents Cautiously Optimistic About Budgets


Public school officials are keeping a close eye on the Indiana General Assembly in hopes of getting more money in the next state budget. Eastern Pulaski Superintendent Dan Foster says the Small and Rural Schools Association and the North Central Indiana Superintendents Study Council hosted a legislative day in Indianapolis last week. He says they’re still cautiously optimistic the state will restore the small and rural schools grant.

“We’re over 1,200 so that would get us $100 per student. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you take our fall count of 1,262 kids, that would get us $126,000, just with that $100 a student,” Foster said.

He adds many small, rural schools, including Eastern Pulaski, are experiencing drops in enrollment.

“From the fall of ’15 to the fall of ’16 we were down 13 students, which was about $75,000. If we were to receive, for instance, that $100 a student, that would neutralize that loss of enrollment a little bit, so definitely any little bit will help.”

Foster adds the education budget in general will be tight.

“They’re telling us to on average maybe expect about a 1 percent increase next year. My comment is how many utilities and insurances and things like that have only increased 1 percent.”

Additionally Foster says the change a few years ago from a fiscal to a calendar year budget and the addition of a second student count date creates budget challenges, as funding can be cut midway through the school year.