The tone of the 2021 budget session of the Indiana General Assembly has been quite different from the last budget session in 2019, when K-12 public education leaders stood with legislators to announce $763 million in new funding for public education.

Fast forward to this session, and it has been consumed with contentious debate on the proposed expansion of school choice programs that devote significant funds to private education. Indiana ranks fifth for spending of state tax dollars on private school programs, but just 39th in the nation for per-pupil expenditures for public schools and the more than 1 million students we serve – down from 22nd in 2004.

Terry Spradlin is executive director of the Indiana School Boards Association.

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