“We reduced everything else first, and much more deeply, but K-12 education is half the entire budget and it became unavoidable for it to become part of the solution,” said Daniels.
The governor said he acted quickly in response to the education community’s request for a fast, one-time decision on 2010 funding levels.
K-12 spending is half of the state’s budget or about $6.5 billion annually. Daniels has said repeatedly that education reductions were a last resort and that every other area would be trimmed first.
The governor has already ordered 20 percent spending cuts at state agencies and six percent from higher education. If the new revenue forecast proves accurate, the K-12 reductions, coupled with the previous cuts and use of most, if not all, of the state’s rainy day reserves, will keep Indiana in the black through the 18 months remaining in this budget cycle.
Daniels encouraged Hoosiers to use the State Board of Education “Citizens’ Checklist” if their school corporation suggests teacher layoffs. The checklist includes a host of suggested efficiencies school corporations can make to avoid reducing the number of teachers. The board plans to formally adopt the checklist on January 8.
“Any district can find two or three percent savings without reducing teaching staff,” said Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett. “If everyone, including teachers themselves will pitch in, we’ll get through this recession just fine.”
Here is a link to the State Board of Education checklist: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/2009_isbe_checklist.pdf