Lawmakers provide funding for K-12 schools every year via the state' tuition support formula. But local school boards decide where to spend the money and bargain with teachers on pay.
That is why House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said his caucus want to set a goal of getting 85 percent of those state dollars into the classroom -- and will produce a report showing what districts meet it or not.
"This is not a mandate," he said. "This is a guideline."
Schools as of Jan. 1 have an Education Fund and Operations Fund. The Education Fund is where state tuition dollars go, while operations have local property tax dollars. Each school board has to pass a resolution on how much it will transfer out of education into operations for expenses such as human resources, utilities and food service.
Bosma said anecdotal reports show some districts making large transfers and others much smaller. Conventional wisdom was the average transfer would be between 18 percent and 20 percent, so Republicans worked with stakeholders to come up with the 85 percent number to stay.
He described tracking -- and publicizing -- this statistic as a stick in putting pressure on local boards to put money toward salaries instead of administration.