The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2005 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
Gov. Mitch Daniels’ legislative plan to put more money into classroom instruction and save costs on overhead led to a new law that allows school districts to pool resources to save money on noninstructional expenditures.
The law also requires the state department of education and the Indiana board of education to develop a plan to upgrade the financial-management, -analysis, and -reporting system for schools and districts.
Statewide testing could be completely revamped after Gov. Daniels, a Republican, signed a bill last month that requires the department of education and the state board to come up with a long-term testing plan by Nov. 1.
The measure instructs leaders to develop a test that is “more concise, less time-consuming, and less expensive to administer than the current tests,” as well as to finally decide whether the Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress (ISTEP) tests should be administered in the fall or the spring, a much-debated issue in the 2006 session.
A package on school health raises the nutritional standards of food sold in public school cafeterias or on school grounds. Additionally, vending machines at elementary schools will be accessible to adults only, and most elementary students must receive physical education every day.
Precollegiate education will receive about $5.5 billion in state funding this fiscal year, up 6.6 percent from $5.2 billion last year.