South Bend — Budget cuts have forced many local school districts to lay off teachers. Ruth Plake of Wakarusa has a good question: “What percent of the total education budget goes to the classroom?”
The average across Indiana is 58 percent. That's the percentage of education funding spent in the classroom, according to Indiana's Office of Management and Budget. Classroom spending includes teacher salaries and textbooks.
The latest numbers for local school districts is from the 2008-2009 school year. South Bend schools spent 62 percent in the classroom, Mishawaka 70 percent, and Penn-Harris-Madison schools 53 percent.
In P-H-M’s case, one factor working against it is size. The district has very long bus rides, and transportation costs are not included in the state's classroom spending numbers. Mishawaka schools don't bus students.