Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels this week announced he would cut K-12 funding by nearly $300 million in 2010.

K-12 spending represents half of the state’s budget, or roughly $6.5 billion. Daniels ordered the cuts, which total 3.5% of all K-12 state funding, to offset declining revenue.

“If the new revenue forecast proves accurate, the K-12 reductions, coupled with the previous cuts and use of most, if not all, of the state’s rainy-day reserves, will keep Indiana in the black through the 18 months remaining in this budget cycle,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

The reduction will be applied evenly across all school districts, Daniels said. “We reduced everything else first, and much more deeply, but K-12 education is half the entire budget and it became unavoidable for it to become part of the solution,” he said.

The move is the latest in a series of cuts ordered by Daniels. State agencies have cut their budgets by 20%, and higher education has been cut by 6%.

In response, Indiana superintendent of public education Tony Bennett said the cuts should not lead to teacher layoffs. “Any district can find 2% or 3% savings without reducing teaching staff,” Bennett said.

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