WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– A recent report shows state education funding for low-income families has decreased hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years, affecting families around Vigo County and Indiana as a whole.

An analysis by Policy Analytics released in October of last year details the state’s “complexity fund,” which offers schools additional funding to meet the needs of low-income students. Steve Marcotte with the Indiana Urban Schools Association presented the report to the Vigo County School board during their meeting on Monday.

The report found the fund has decreased from $1.15 billion in 2015 to around $700 million this year, a $400 million drop that has affected Vigo County Schools, according to interim superintendent Tom Balitewicz.

“There’s little doubt in my mind that Dr. Marcotte today laid out pretty good evidence that the complexity index is underfunded by the state,” Balitewicz said after the meeting. “We’re still lacking that complexity index, and spending that money in places where it shouldn’t be directed, it should be directed to students in poverty. We’re having to use that to backfill other concerns that we have.”

Part of the reason for the decrease, according to Marcotte, is a change in the process of how the complexity fund was calculated. It used to be determined by students who were in free or reduced lunch programs; in 2015, a shift was made for families to have to self-report enrollment in programs like SNAP or TANF.

That shift has caused less students to qualify– something Vigo County School Board President Amy Lore thinks can be attributed to that change in the process.

“Some people who would qualify for them are not doing that, therefore we can’t report that a student needs services,” Lore said. “That dramatically impacts what the state is trying to achieve and I would argue that most legislators that are presented with that would be horrified.”

Changes are already being proposed in legislation, like a senate bill authored by Sen. J.D. Ford that would alter how the complexity index can be calculated. Lore said the board will work to raise these concerns to local legislators.

“I think ultimately everyone wants the best for our students. And how we do that is the nuts and bolts for public policy,” Lore said. “We have to be talking to them in order for them to know what’s happening here.”