WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick knows her ask is going to be a tough one come January. The start of the next Indiana General Assembly begins Jan. 3, and 2019 is a budget year. That means more departments will by vying for more dollars in what's expected to be a difficult session.
McCormick said in an interview with News 18 that she is prepared to ask for a 3-percent increase over both fiscal years in the Indiana Department of Education.
"We get a lot of attention because we are very expensive," said McCormick. "Our budget is about $8 billion from the State of Indiana."
McCormick said that's on top of another $1 billion from the federal government. However, they would like to add dollars to schools safety, flexibility for teacher licenses, and for students who are the most at-risk.
"When you're over half of the state's budget, they're looking carefully at what that revenue looks like," said McCormick. "But you have other agencies that want a piece of the pie."
They're competing with the Department of Child Services, Higher Education, the Department of Corrections, etc.
"There will be winners and there will be losers," said McCormick. "But it's about going to the table to discuss and prioritize as a state."
McCormick is willing to fight to be one of those winners.
"I really think watching where those dollars go will really show a commitment and really the role that the governor is going to play into this to show his priorities as well."
McCormick announced in October that she will not seek another term in 2020. Though a Republican, she has at times been at odds with GOP Statehouse leaders when it comes to education policy. That includes her support for increased scrutiny of charter and voucher schools that receive state money. McCormick is in her first term after ousting Democrat Glenda Ritz in 2016.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb spoke to McCormick back in October and released the following:
"I reminded her that we have more time left in this term than we've been here, and there's still plenty to be accomplished," he said in a statement. "... We'll take the steps necessary to ensure Indiana has the best team working together to provide the highest quality education for children."