Inside Indiana Business
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb says he will ask the Indiana State Board of Education to delay the official count of K-12 student enrollment until at least December, giving school districts more time to get students back to the classroom and to qualify for full state funding.
The count, known by school administrators as Average Daily Membership, helps determine funding levels for schools. The process is completed twice a year and relies on in-class student attendance to get the full amount per student. But if a student receives at least 50% of their instruction virtually, the school corporation would only receive 85% of the money for those pupils.
The next student count is currently scheduled for September 18. As Indiana schools reopen for business, many are starting their fall semesters with online learning due to COVID-19 and putting some of their state funding at risk.
“This law predates the COVID-19 pandemic and is automatic without some action to address its application under current circumstances,” said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray.
Holcomb and legislative leaders are calling on the SBOE to call a special meeting to delay the fall count. The governor says Indiana law allows for a date change due to extreme patterns of illness.
“This solution will put to rest lingering questions or concerns so schools can continue to focus on opening schools safely and educating Indiana’s students,” said Holcomb.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Schools Jennifer McCormick said her staff at the Department of Education is in the process of “reviewing for its potential financial benefits and consequences.”
Bray said in the next legislative session, the General Assembly should look at these statutes in light of the pandemic to ensure schools are adequately funded.
The governor discussed the funding decision during his weekly COVID-19 press briefing. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box also announced her office is working to develop an online tool that would allow the public to see where positive cases of COVID-19 appear in public schools.
“We think we can accomplish this and remain compliant with all the privacy laws,” said Box.
But she said the ISDH needs access to the most up to date school rosters when they are submitted to the Indiana Department of Education.
“Having access to the roster of each school is critical to our ability to inform a school of a positive case in a student,” Box said. “Without it, our ability to provide efficient and timely contact tracing and notifications to schools is compromised”
She said her department only has about 10% of new data submitted to the IDOE.
SOURCE: Inside Indiana Business