Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of final action by legislatures on state education budgets and other education-related matters.


Frank L. O'Bannon (D)

FY 1997-1998 biennial state budget:
$8.45 billion

FY 1997-98 K-12 budget:
$3.45 billion

FY 1996-97 K-12 budget:
$3.15 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+9.5 percent

Estimated enrollment:


  • Legislators set aside $12.5 million to fulfill pledge to reimburse school districts in full for cost of providing free textbooks to students eligible for federal free-lunch program. In the past, state provided only 70 percent reimbursement.
  • Legislature approved $44 million in technology funding to provide schools with computers, wiring for Internet, video distance learning, and other equipment.
  • State's general tuition support was increased to an average of 4.8 percent. Each of state's 294 school corporations has a minimum guarantee of no less than a 3 percent contribution from state.
  • Governor's Reading and Literacy Initiative for a Better Indiana was allotted $8 million for creation of an early-intervention reading program. Additional $4 million has been set aside for school libraries to replenish printed materials.


Ben Nelson (D)

FY 1998 state budget:
$1.98 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$594.2 million

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$574.5 million

Percent change K-12 budget:
+3.4 percent

Estimated enrollment:


  • After passing new caps on local property taxes in last year's session, lawmakers revamped school finance formula to make up for lost revenue and better equalize funding. New formula, which takes effect in 1998-99 school year, adds $110 million to the coming year's $454 million in base state aid, for total of $580 million.
  • Bill passed by legislature allows school employees to buy the equivalent of up to five years' service in order to meet retirement requirements for receiving full pensions.

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Clarification: The Legislative Update item for Indiana should have noted the approval of $15 million for Gov. Frank L. O'Bannon's alternative schools initiative for the 1997-98 biennium. This Legislative Update item also incorrectly credited the governor with launching a new statewide reading initiative. The Reading and Literacy Initiative for a Better Indiana was initiated and promoted by Suellen Reed, the state superintendent for public instruction. In addition, only $30 million of the $44 million provided to the state for technology funding will go toward school programs.

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