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Student count starts funding shift

Indiana schools will count students on Friday for the second time this academic year.

In response to concerns that funding is not following students to the schools they actually attend, the Indiana General Assembly last year approved a second enrollment count. School funding is currently based on a census taken the second Friday after Labor Day.

Indiana has abandoned its minimum-guarantee school funding, in which all districts were guaranteed funding above the prior year’s revenue and an adjusted count recognized average enrollment over five years.

This week’s enrollment count won’t affect current-year funding but will likely be the first count used in a new funding formula.

The state is moving from a calendar-year to fiscal-year budget for schools.

The legislature’s fiscal leaders are expected to look at the results of this week’s enrollment count to consider how and when to adjust funding for districts with growing or declining enrollment after the fall count.

Observers also will be waiting to see the effect of vouchers and charter school students on enrollment.

In the General Assembly’s push for dollars to follow the student, it provided no mechanism for traditional public schools to recoup funding if charter or voucher students return to a neighborhood school after the fall count day.

Last fall’s count day determined Fort Wayne Community Schools had become the state’s largest district, with its enrollment surpassing that of Indianapolis Public Schools.

One Billion Rising

The United Nations estimates that one in three women will be the victim of violence or abuse in her lifetime, which equals 1 billion people.

On Thursday (Valentine’s Day), Fort Wayne residents have an opportunity to take part in a worldwide movement to end violence against women.

Sponsors of the local One Billion Rising event, including the TinCaps, which has donated the venue, are inviting area residents to gather at Parkview Field to dance as a show of protest against violence toward women. Event organizers are emphasizing that no special clothing or dance skills are required, but they do suggest dressing for the weather.

TinCaps President Mike Nutter said his strong belief in the cause forced him to rethink a long-held personal policy against both dancing and singing in public. “When I found out about One Billion Rising, I decided I may be taking one of those things back,” he said in a statement.

The goal is to bring as many people from differing backgrounds together over their lunch hour to raise awareness about the problem. Local agencies, including the YWCA of Northeast Indiana, the Center for Nonviolence, the Women’s Bureau and Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center, will have information available.

Volunteers at the event will be collecting donations to benefit violence prevention and victim assistance programs.

For more information visit

Obama’s opportunity for agenda-setting

As President Obama begins his fifth year in office, he will deliver what some say is his most important State of the Union address Tuesday.

What’s so important? This could be the speech that is least motivated by pressing partisan politics. Previous addresses discussed problems he inherited and were influenced by the 2010 and 2012 elections. Next year, he will be up against the midterm elections, and in his final two years, many will consider him a lame duck.

Obama will have no shortage of key issues: The budget and avoiding the pending sequestration cuts; gun control; the U.S. role in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali and other nations; pending Cabinet confirmations; and implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act all will be likely topics.

The week ahead

One Billion Rising Fort Wayne: Noon Thursday, Parkview Field,
1301 Ewing St.

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