WCCS board signs funding resolution

COLUMBIA CITY — The Whitley County Consolidated School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees joined hands with a host of other school districts in sending a message to the state legislature — and the board did it with the stroke of the pen.At its regular meeting Monday, the board signed a resolution that had been presented to the panel earlier this month, drafted by the John Glenn School Corporation and addressed to Indiana lawmakers.The Walkerton-based school corporation drafted a resolution to Indiana lawmakers and sent letters to WCCS and other districts around the state.In the letter, the John Glenn board wrote “As you may already know, the John Glenn School Corporation Board of School Trustees has taken issue with the discrepancy among districts in per-student funding.“We feel this, among other issues, needs to be addressed. We have constructed a draft resolution to take to the legislature before they convene next session.”The school officials from Walkerton are seeking a coalition of 50 school districts to sign the resolution before sending it off to Indianapolis.“We would appreciate your participation in preparing the ‘final product’ and invite you to sign the resolution,” said the letter to WCCS.The resolution states “The revenue streams into public schools were more equally divided between state and local dollars in the past and are now more totally dependant on state money...”The document also calls out the state’s “funding formula,” saying “the State Tuition Support Worksheet is complicated and difficult, at best, to explain; and whereas the level of state funding to the school corporation ranges from $4,800 to $12,000 per student...”The resolution also reports the average tuition support per student for non-charter schools at $5,724 and the average support per student for charter schools at $6,637.“The boards find the funding inequities grossly unfair,” said the resolution, “denying students of equal opportunities and placing undue economic stress on employees of the under-funded school districts in Indiana.”All seven board members present signed the resolution.Board members Nicki Baker and Stan Meyer were absent.“I’ve been in communication with a couple of our legislators and they are honestly encouraging us to approve the resolution,” said Board President Don Armstrong before the unanimous vote was taken.“What happens next?” asked board member Deborah Hiss.Armstrong said the resolution would simply be a statement from the school corporations who signed the document to the Indiana lawmakers in charge of education funding reform at the next session of the Indiana Legislature.“It’s probably better than an e-mail or a phone call,” said Armstrong.