Public education in Indiana

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K-12 Education in Indiana
State Superintendent: Glenda Ritz
Number of students: 1,040,765[1]
Number of teachers: 62,339
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:16.7
Number of school districts: 394
Number of schools: 1,933
Graduation rate: 86%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $9,370[3]
See also
Public education in Indiana
Indiana Department of Education
Indiana school districts
List of school districts in Indiana
The Indiana public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards members and superintendents. Indiana has 295 school districts.

The Indiana state constitution requires that the General Assembly "encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual scientific, and agricultural improvement; and provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall without charge, and equally open to all."[4]

School revenues, expenditures and budget

See also: Indiana state budget
Indiana's education costs are 39% of the state budget

According to the Indiana State Budget Agency the state budget for the 2009-2011 biennium totaled $53.79 billion. The education budget accounts for $20.8 billion or 38.7% of the total budget.[5] In the 2007-2009 biennium the education budget accounted for 30.4% or $15.2 billion of the total budget, $49.95 billion.[6]

The cost per pupil is $9,036, ranking 38th in the nation according the Census Bureau 2007-2008 report.[7]

Personnel salaries

According to the Indiana Department of Education the average annual teacher salary for the 2008-09 school year was $49,569, a $1,061 increase from the 2007-08 school year. The chart below details the average teacher salary from 2000 through the 2008 school years and notes adjustments for inflation.[8]

School year Average annual teacher salary Inflation adjusted
2008-09 $49,569 -
2007-08 $48,508 $11,869
2006-07 $47,832 $12,140
2005-06 $47,255 $12,301
2004-05 $46,591 $12,591
2003-04 $45,791 $12,748
2002-03 $44,966 $12,791
2001-02 $44,030 $12,799
2000-01 $43,311 $12,813

Role of unions

The main unions related to the Indiana school system are Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), and Indiana Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of American Federation of Teachers. ISTA is the largest education association in the state. For the 2003 tax period ISTA had: $19.2 million in total revenue, $19.0 million in total expenses and $20.8 million in total assets.[9] Indiana Federation of Teachers had: $524,032 in total revenue, $579,406 in total expenses and $232,097 in total assets.[10]

List of local Indiana school unions:[11]

Role of school boards

The State Board of Education serves as the general planning and policy-making body for public education. The board consists of a total of 11 members; 10 of which are appointed by the governor. The Superintendent of Public Instruction serves as the 11th board member. Board members, with the exception of the superintendent, represent each of the state's congressional districts. According to state law, no more than six of the 10 members can be from the same political party. Additionally, at least four members must be educators.[12]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Indiana government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Indiana School Boards Association.


The state of Indiana currently has no statewide, official spending database online. Although Indiana House Bill 1280 would have placed spending information online, the bill died during the 2009 regular session.[13] However, salaries of Purdue University employees are updated annually at High Ed Salaries.

Academic performance

The chart below details the percentage of students that scored passed, according to state requirements, in English and mathematics on the state assessment exam (ISTEP) in both public and nonpublic schools. Students scored highest in mathematics in the 2008-2009 school year and highest in English in the 2007-2008 school year (the percent passed remained the same in 2008-2009).[14]

2008 AYP results

According to the Indiana Department of Education, in the 2008 school year approximately 923 schools (50%) met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements and 926 failed to meet the 2008 federal requirements. The previous year's reports showed that 54% of the state's schools met AYP requirements. AYP is used by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program to determine the academic performance of schools. According to reports, a total of 350 schools have met AYP since 2003.[15]

AYP Summary:[16]
Total schools that met AYP: 923
Total number of schools: approximately 1,850
Schools that made AYP for the first time in 2008: 25
Schools that made AYP since 2003: 350 (20%)
Schools that missed one year since 2003: 282 (16%)

State Budget Solutions’ Education Study: “Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working”

State Budget Solutions’ examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. Download the full report here: Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working.

See National Chart to compare data from all 50 states.

State Spending on Education vs. Academic Performance 2012

State 2011 Total Spending[17] 2011 Education Spending[18] 2011 Percent Education Spending 2012 Total Spending[19] 2012 Education Spending[20] 2012 Percent Education Spending 2010 Avg. ACT score[21] 2011 Avg. ACT score[22] 2012 Avg. ACT score[23] 2010 Graduation Rate[24] 2011 Graduation Rate[25]
Indiana $52.3 billion $17.6 billion 33.6% $54.4 billion $18.4 billion 33.8% 22.3 22.3 22.3 73.9% 74.1%

School choice

School choice options include:

  • Charter schools: According to the Indiana Department of Education, there are approximately 29 charter schools throughout the state.[26]
  • Public school open enrollment: the state of Indiana has two open enrollment policies: inter-district and intra-district. In other words, students are permitted to enroll in any school within their neighborhood school district or in any alternative district in the state.[27]
  • Tax credits: Indiana lawmakers in a special legislative session approved a $2.5 million scholarship tax credit program on 30 June 2009 for the state's budget. The bill passed in the Senate with a vote of 34-16 and in the House with a vote of 61-36. According to reports supporters come from both parties as well as Gov. Mitch Daniels, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, and House Republican Leader Brian Bosma. The original authors of the bill, Senate Bill 528, were Senators Carlin Yoder, Marlin Stutzman and Joe Zakas. During the regular legislative session, the Senate passed a similar tax credit proposal with bi-partisan support. Governor Daniels included the bill in his budget proposal during the special legislative session.[28]
  • Online learning: the state of Indiana does not have a state-led online program. However, according to reports there hybrid charter schools and supplemental online programs.[29] The Indiana Online Academy, for example, is an online program of the Central Indiana Educational Service Center.[30]

External links

Additional reading


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. State of Indiana Constitution,"Article VIII, Section 1," accessed February 9, 2010
  5. Indiana State Budget Agency,"State of Indiana - Recommended Expenditures 2009-2011," accessed February 15, 2010
  6. Indiana State Budget Agency,"State of Indiana - Recommended Expenditures 2008-2009," accessed February 15, 2010
  7. Maine Watchdog, Education Spending Per Child, July 6, 2010
  8. Indiana Department of Education,"Teacher Salary," accessed February 15, 2010
  9. Center for Union Facts,"Indiana State Teachers Association," accessed February 6, 2010
  10. Center for Union Facts,"Indiana Federation of Teachers," accessed February 6, 2010
  11. Center for Union Facts,"Indiana teachers unions," accessed February 6, 2010
  12. Indiana Department of Education,"About: State Board of Education," accessed February 9, 2010
  13. Bill Status, House Bill 1280 (2009)
  14. Indiana Education Statistics,"ISTEP Math and English, Pct Pass (Public and Nonpublic)," accessed February 9, 2010
  15. Indiana Department of Education,"Half of Indiana schools meet raised standard for academic progress," April 15, 2009
  16. Indiana Department of Education,"2008 AYP by schools," accessed February 15, 2010
  17. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  18. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  19. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  20. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  21. 2010 ACT National and State Scores "Average Scores by State"
  22. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  23. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  24. National Center for Education Statistics
  25. National Center for Education Statistics
  26. Indiana Department of Education,"Indiana Charter Schools," accessed February 9, 2010
  27. Education Commission of the States,"Open Enrollment: 50-State Report," accessed February 9, 2010
  28. Friedman Foundation,"Indiana passes new school choice program," June 30, 2009
  29. The Heritage Foundation,"School Choice in Indiana," accessed February 9, 2010
  30. Indiana Online Academy,"About Us," accessed February 9, 2010