INDIANAPOLIS—On Wednesday, Governor Holcomb announced that he would task the Indiana State Board of Education with calling a special meeting to delay the fall count of student enrollment from September 18 to at least December. State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary), who serves as the ranking minority member on the Senate Education Committee had the following response to the governor’s announcement:

“While I’m happy with all the work that schools, educators and community members showed to voice their concerns and put pressure on the governor to address school funding cuts, I do not consider the governor’s proposed solution a victory,” Sen. Melton said. “Let’s be clear: the law in question was never intended to be applied to public schools operating virtually due to an unprecedented pandemic. All this “solution” does is kick the can down the road. The governor has still failed to give any assurance that public school funding will not see any cuts for the 2020-2021 school year due to the pandemic.

“In fact, by pushing the student enrollment count day to December, schools could actually stand to have this decision hurt them. If January rolls around and the statute is not amended by the time the General Assembly convenes, then schools would have been overpaid by 15% for eight months, and would have their monthly payments cut by that amount over the following four months. This could put schools in an even more difficult position, especially if Republican members do not pass legislation to make changes to the law.

“Delaying a real solution to this problem is not the same thing as solving the problem. Schools are looking for definitive actions and solutions in a time of uncertainty. Pushing back the September ADM count until December is just a way to placate voters until after the election, as far as I can tell. There’s no need to push this problem back by months, when that could potentially lead to more issues and still give no guarantee that the law in question would be altered. The governor needs to call a special session now so we can address this issue immediately and completely, along with a variety of other pertinent issues. Our schools deserve better than political tricks and half-solutions.”