Pharos-Tribune

State News

January 22, 2014

Legislators scrambling for school bus solution

Some school districts to lose 20 percent of transport funding or more.

INDIANAPOLIS — School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.

More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.

The law, slated to go into effect later this year, comes as many cash-strapped districts are still struggling to adjust to property tax caps passed by lawmakers in 2008.

The new law would severely impact the schools in counties that saw dramatic drops in the value of their commercial and industrial bases last year – a drop that has already cut deeply into the taxes they collect to keep buses running and repair leaky roofs.

Goshen Community Schools, for example, stand to lose 47 percent of their revenue for transportation and capital projects, or a $3.5 million loss. School officials, who’ve already seen a 20 percent drop in property tax revenues due to the tax caps, have cut back bus routes and informed more children they’ll have to walk or find another way to get to school.

School districts across Indiana were affected when tax caps limited revenues to pay for a range of services and projects. Under current law, school corporations can spread those losses over several funds, including debt service, school pension debt, capital projects, transportation and bus replacement.

But the new “protected levy” law, passed in 2012 and delayed until this July of this year, removed that flexibility. It requires districts to apply their property tax revenues to debt payments before other expenses.

The Legislative Services Agency, the non-partisan research arm of the General Assembly, found the new law impacts school districts differently. About one-third of school districts won’t see immediate reductions in revenue available for transportation and capital projects when the new law goes into effect this summer. But the LSA report also noted that an increasing number of school districts may face this funding dilemma in years to come as the tax caps continue to erode school revenue.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Family: 2013 crash that killed 7 was preventable MUNSTER (AP) — An Indiana woman who lost seven family members in a fiery highway crash last year says more needs to be done to ensure truck drivers are operating safely. Judith Williams said she believes the accident that killed her two daughters, th

    August 15, 2014

  • Man sentenced to 8 years in Gary man's killing CROWN POINT (AP) — A Gary man whose murder confession was thrown out because a police detective had told him he might not get a fair trial because he is black has been sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to reckless homicide. The

    August 15, 2014

  • Prosecutors seek life without parole for skipping shooter INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors have requested life without parole for a murder defendant caught on surveillance video skipping away from the fatal shooting of an Indianapolis convenience store clerk. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Th

    August 15, 2014

  • Suits in triple-slaying proceeds case move ahead NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) — A former Indiana state trooper shouldn't be allowed to claim all $626,000 in insurance and estate proceeds from the deaths of his wife and two children 14 years ago, even though he was acquitted of their murders, attorneys rep

    August 14, 2014

  • Indiana universities face cuts if tax intake lags INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's public universities could see their budgets cut another 2 percent if state tax collections continue lagging behind expectations. Gov. Mike Pence's budget director told members of the State Budget Committee Thursday that

    August 14, 2014

  • Purdue writing commercial dog breeding standards WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — The director of Purdue University's Center for Animal Welfare Science will lead a two-year research project to develop and test nationwide animal care standards for the commercial breeding and raising of dogs. Director Can

    August 14, 2014

  • No charges filed in deaths of Clydesdale horses HUNTINGTON (AP) — Northeastern Indiana prosecutors have decided not to file charges in a case where dead and malnourished Clydesdales were discovered on a horse farm. Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison says she could not file charges because n

    August 14, 2014

  • E. Indiana couple arrested for dealing steroids RUSHVILLE (AP) — An eastern Indiana couple are under arrest after what authorities broke up what they are calling the largest lab ever found in Indiana for producing anabolic steroids. Rushville Police Chief Craig Tucker says 39-year-old David Starke

    August 13, 2014

  • Judge: Indiana can sue IRS over health care rules INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has ruled Indiana and nearly 40 state school districts can sue the Internal Revenue Service over rules it imposed to implement the federal health care overhaul. The judge on Tuesday declined an IRS request to dismi

    August 13, 2014

  • Indiana receives $475,000 for students' exams INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Department of Education is receiving nearly $475,000 from the federal government to help defray the costs of taking advanced placement tests for low-income students. The U.S. Department of Education announced the award

    August 13, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.