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Indiana Fact Sheet

State Funding Context

From NCES (most current available statistics):

Pre-K to 12 Students, 2005-2006: 1,035,074
Annual Per-Pupil Expenditures, 2004-2005: $9,008
% Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch, 2005-2006: 36.1%
% in limited-English-proficiency programs, 2005-2006: 5.5%

Study Title:

“Calculation of the Cost of an Adequate Education in Indiana in 2001-2002 Using the Professional Judgement Approach”

Date Completed:

September 2002

Definition of Adequacy:

Adequacy for each school means 80% of its students (on average) pass state tests, which at the time of the study examined English language and math in grades three, six, eight and ten. The study did not anticipate a disaggregate of results, which became a requirement under NCLB.

Calculated Base/Per Pupil Costs:

Per pupil dollar amounts were calculated for small, average and large school districts.

- $7,365 per pupil in small school districts (1,200 students)
- $7,142 per pupil in average school districts (4,230 students)
- $7,094 per pupil in large school districts (21,800 students)

Current base spending

- $5,152 per pupil in small school districts
- $6,167 per pupil in average school districts
- $6,025 per pupil in large school districts

The additional per student cost of special education was calculated at 1.14 as much as base spending, but it was pegged at 0.9 in the current system.

The study calculated that the average size district has an additional per pupil cost of between 0.56 and 0.83 of the base cost for “hard-to-serve” students, those receiving a free lunch, and that this cost increases with district size.

Calculated Additional Costs:

The added cost for students in special education in each size district was estimated at:

- $7,522 per pupil in small school districts
- $8,115 per pupil in average school districts
- $8,273 per pupil in large school districts

The added cost for “hard-to-serve” students in each school district was estimated at:

- $4,152 per pupil in small school districts
- $5,284 per pupil in average school districts
- Between $5,668 (60% of hard-to-serve students) and $5,875 (30% of hard-to-serve students) per pupil in large school districts

Note of Caution: The study’s authors note that costs represent estimates based on the best judgments of three sets of people, on estimated prices often based on statewide average adjusted figures.

Major Recommendations:

A&M strongly recommends increased state funding for special education and “hard-to-serve” students.

Special Features of the Study:

The study accounted for students with special needs, such as special education and “hard-to-serve” students. However, it did not specifically consider English language learners.

Preschool was not included in the study

This study did not consider capital funding for facilities, etc., transportation, food service, adult education, or community service costs, which are ordinarily excluded from adequacy studies.




The study used the Professional Judgment Approach, in which participants were asked to build school districts that would provide an adequate education. To account for differences in characteristics, performance levels, personnel, and requirements, A&M focused on the costs of providing services to different students in different circumstances. A&M used multiple panels of people. It created three prototype school panels, three prototype district panels, and a single expert panel to account for differences in demographics and identify the resources prototype elementary, middle and high schools need. Panels were also asked to differentiate the resources for students with special needs, students in special education programs, and “hard-to-serve” students.

Additional Findings:

The study indicated that at first glance, the $8,045 the state provides for students with severe disabilities closely matches the recommended $8,115 per student in the average size district for special education. However, the study says that state funding does not come close to the recommended cost per student. Students with varying levels of disabilities are categorized under “special education” and the mix of varying disabilities leaves state funding for every school district short of the level of funding suggested for special education.


Recent 2001-02 Indiana spending was less than that estimated to be needed to provide an adequate education. The study found that Indiana used a “foundation formula” called the tuition support program, as a per pupil dollar amount, to distribute most aid. The foundation level in Indiana was set at $4400 for 2001-2002, but this level was far less than the average per pupil spending of school districts that year.

Prepared for:

Indiana State Teachers Association

Prepared by: Augenblick & Myers, Inc.

Prepared by Marcela Briceno, September 2007