More funding is coming to Indiana schools. On Wednesday, June 16, Gov. Eric Holcomb said that funding to the schools will increase by $183 million. The announcement was made during the governor’s regular coronavirus briefing. Gov. Holcomb explained that through good fiscal management, the state of Indiana has been able to provide funding to areas where it is most needed.
There was a time when the schools were asked to evaluate their budgets and look for ways to make budget cuts. However, the governor believed that funding for schools was crucial, and so he made it a priority. This is what led to his announcement this past week.
According to Chris Johnston with the Office of Management and Budget, the CARES Act will also fund the schools with an additional $192 million. The way funds are dispersed will be through Title I guidelines. With virtual schooling on the table in some capacity for the next school year, there is virtual education funding when learning is done online for 50% of the curriculum or more. The schools will receive 85% of the base funding in this scenario. The full picture of how virtual learning is going to play is still being discussed and planned.
The funds can be used for all activities authorized under the elementary and secondary education act. Any activity that is necessary to manage operations is viable. Some acceptable activities include:
- Career and technical education
- Homeless education
- Adult education
- Coronavirus preparation and response
- Resources for school leaders to bring back to their schools
- Responding to the needs of low-income students
There is around $61 million in the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund that is directed at remote learning. The Holcomb administration has given precedence to education, and so has the general assembly as the last legislative session had education as a primary focus. The news of keeping education matters a high priority in the state has been praised by the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick. Recognizing that schools will likely need to utilize virtual learning options, it is helpful to know they will not be penalized for using alternative learning methods. Developing a plan for tackling the 2020-2021 year amid the virus is already challenging, and relieving schools of funding concerns makes the process a bit less stressful.
Will Parents and Teachers Want to Go Back to School In 2020?
Schools across the country are developing plans for how to start up again in the fall. Many schools are connecting with parents and surveying them to see how they feel about the options that are present. A USA TODAY/Ipsos poll showed that one in five teachers expressed that they will not be teaching in a brick-and-mortar classroom in the fall if that is the method of reopening. Forcing educators to work in such an environment may lead to a wave of resignations. Despite this, many educators say they have struggled to do their jobs with the changes to learning made during the pandemic.
Similarly, six in 10 parents polled indicated they are not comfortable sending their kids back to in-person school. Approximately 30% of parents say they are “very likely” to go this route.
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