Luke Kenley

Kyle Stokes / http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/

State education and legal officials are looking into a potential problem with the law that mandates schools receive annual A-through-F accountability grades.

The law that mandates the state gives schools A-F grades each year has been around since 1999, but the law has been tweaked several times over the last few years, as policy changes around standards and testing arose.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA News

Amid concerns about cost and effectiveness, the State Budget Committee tabled a vote Friday on adding new security measures to Indiana Statehouse entrances.

Some of the concern from Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) comes from the definition of the “turnstiles” the state proposes adding at a cost of nearly $900,000.

Kenley wondered how such equipment would stop people from entering the statehouse unmonitored, as happens with the current keycard system.

Ivy Tech

The Indiana General Assembly allocated nearly $2 billion for the state’s colleges in this year's budget – including money for new building projects. The only institution that didn’t receive funding for one of those projects is Ivy Tech Community College.    

​Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) was one of the architects of that $31 billion budget Gov. Mike Pence signed into law. As he was reviewing requests from the state’s colleges for more than $761 million in capital projects, there was a phone call.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Republicans declared “mission accomplished” on the new budget as they brought a close to the 2015 legislative session.  

Mark Beeson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mark242/

Supporters of the Hoosier State Passenger Rail Line experienced some nervy moments in the final day of session after funding for the line was seemingly zeroed out of the budget.  

Previous budget versions included six million dollars specifically for the Hoosier State Line…but the version released late Tuesday night didn’t seem to include it anymore.  Senate budget architect Luke Kenley says, instead, he put the six million into a bigger pot of money controlled by the Department of Transportation.

Thomas Hawk / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/

The final budget proposal released Tuesday provides around $80 million for community corrections programs.

The amount is in between the House and Senate budget proposals.

The House budget would have appropriated more than $80 million additional for community corrections, while the Senate came in at $56 million.

The money in the new proposal goes to the state, which then doles it out via grants to local programs.

Senate budget architect Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, says all the stakeholders involved will have to make progress reports every three months.

ISTEP To Be Studied, Rather Than Replaced In Budget

Apr 22, 2015
Melanie Holtsman / https://www.flickr.com/photos/holtsman/4331034955/

The ISTEP exam will survive another year, after a legislative flirtation with replacing it.

The Senate twice passed bills to get rid of ISTEP in favor of a shorter and cheaper national test, amid estimates, since scaled back, that a revised ISTEP would cost $67 million a year. The legislation appeared to gain momentum in February with the announcement that this year‘s test would take 12 hours.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Senate Republicans Tuesday rejected a slew of amendments to the state budget offered by Democrats. That includes one aimed at continuing a recent discussion over the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

While passing the religious freedom clarification bill, Republican legislative leaders said this session wasn’t enough time to debate inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity into the state’s civil rights statute.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, says creating a study committee is the customary next step.

Purdue University

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee says he’s allocating more money for higher education in this year’s spending plan so, in his words, colleges won’t have to raise tuition. That was music to the ears of Purdue President Mitch Daniels, who’s pushed a tuition freeze for the three years he’s been in office. On this month’s conversation with him, we ask what influence he had on getting the state to push for the same changes Purdue has made.

Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership / https://www.flickr.com/photos/northeastindiana/

The budget which senators will vote on this week singles out two Indiana colleges for an in-depth review.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley‘s budget calls on the Commission for Higher Education to look into Ivy Tech‘s low degree completion rates.

Just four-percent of Ivy Tech students earn their degree on time – and only 28% manage it within six years.

Both figures are the lowest of any state institution in Indiana.

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