Calling the loss of local control of schools a “serious concern,” State
Senator Karen Tallian, D-Portage, announced a package of proposals intended
to allow more local school funding decisions.
Tallian plans to co-author the package of proposals in the 2011 legislative
session. She said the proposals provide common sense options to help schools
close budget gaps without raising taxes or impacting the state budget.
At the heart of the proposal is an effort to restore local decision making
by school corporations that have seen increasing state control since the
state took over the school general fund. In response to growing concern over
the impact of a $300 million cut from K-12 school funding by Governor Mitch
Daniels, Tallian said all creative solutions should be on the table.
Included in the proposed legislation is a proposal to allow a school
corporation to transfer up to 50 percent of the capital projects fund to the
general fund with no stipulations. A new law approved this year allows
schools to transfer up to 10 percent of their CPFs only if teachers agree to
“The erosion of local control of our schools is a serious concern,” Tallian
said. “This proposal puts decision making back in the hands of the locals,
giving them the flexibility to manage corporation budgets according to their
Another part of the proposal would allow individuals to donate part or all
of their state income tax refund to a fund benefitting an Indaina public
school or a public education foundation, through a check-off box on their
tax returns. Approximately 30,000 Hoosiers now use this option to donate to
the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund each year.
The proposal also includes tax credits for donations to public education
foundations. In 2009, the lawmakers approved a tax credit for 50 percent of
each dollar contributed to organizations that grant scholarships to children
attending private schools. Tallian’s proposal would expand that credit to
those who donate to public education foundations, while retaining the
current cap of $2.5 million in tax credits.
Tallian said Indiana’s public school education foundations and those who
want to support them deserve the same treatment as a private school fund.