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Web letter by Chris Smith: Districts in decline must compete harder for funding

This is in response to various articles concerning House Bill 1381. HB 1381 would ban school districts from accepting only the brightest transfer students while turning away those with special needs, low test scores and minor disciplinary problems.

While I agree this could be a problem, there is more to it than districts choosing students who will or will not be accepted into receiving districts. It is all about money. For instance, look at Anderson. Enrollment has declined by 18.89 percent or 1,663 students between the 2009-10 and 2011-12 school years. At $13,000 per student per year funding, their school system could realize a decline of $21,619,000 in state funding. Kokomo-Center Schools could see a decline of $4,841,600 over the same time period; New Albany, 4,656,600; and Blackford schools, a decline of $1,601,600.

The bigger issue is: Why are students choosing to leave urban districts to attend rural districts? Rather than letting our state government dictate another item that should be decided locally, those crying foul should step back and look at what can be done to keep in-district students from leaving.

Another issue that makes no sense to most citizens, me included, is how the state funding is set up. How can the state justify spending $13,000 per student, continuously, at a school on academic watch or probation and graduation rate of 70.80 percent? Look at the three Wells County school systems collectively. The three-year average spending per student is $9,217 as of 2010-11 with a graduation rate of about 93 percent. This makes no sense to me as a taxpayer.

Don’t cry foul if things don’t go your way. Step back and hit a three-pointer next time down the court.

CHRIS SMITH

Liberty Center

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