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Governor proposes small funding boost for Indiana schools

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is proposing a modest increase in school funding that is unlikely to provide much of an immediate boost for teacher pay.

Posted: Jan 10, 2019 2:48 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is proposing a modest increase in school funding that is unlikely to provide much of an immediate boost for teacher pay.

The Republican governor and GOP legislative leaders have stressed the importance of finding ways to address Indiana's lagging teacher salaries, but Holcomb's $33 billion, two-year budget proposal released Thursday recommends a 2 percent increase for public schools each year.

State fiscal analysts project tax revenues will grow by about 2.5 percent both budget years. Holcomb proposes much of that money go toward allowing the state's troubled Department of Child Services to keep hundreds of new caseworkers added over the last few years and an expected jump in state costs for the Medicaid program for low-income families.

State funding makes up the bulk of money that school districts have available to not only pay teachers, but also provide support staffers, maintain buildings, purchase supplies and provide transportation.

The proposed state funding increase won't be required to go toward teacher pay, which remains a decision for local school boards, said Micah Vincent, director of the state Office of Management and Budget.

"As they work with their teachers, we would be hopeful and expect that we will see increases to teachers through that," Vincent told legislators on the State Budget Committee.

Indiana ranked 31st among the 50 states in teacher pay during 2016, with average salaries of $50,715, according to the National Education Association. That's lower than the five nearby states that the Holcomb administration wants to compare Indiana with — Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Sen. Karen Tallian of Portage, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, faulted Holcomb's school funding proposal for falling below both the expected growth of state revenue and the national inflation rate of 2.2 percent over the past year.

"We've been calling for teacher pay increases, we all know that we need them," Tallian said. "This budget doesn't do anything to get there."

Holcomb and fellow Republicans want to protect the state's $1.8 billion budget surplus , which Democrats suggest should be tapped to boost teacher pay.

Dennis Costerison, an education lobbyist and executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, said Holcomb's proposal is a good start but that education funding has lagged behind inflation in recent years.

The Republican-dominated Legislature has until late April to approve a budget taking effect in July.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708067

Reported Deaths: 13224
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion964881721
Lake51704945
Allen39185672
Hamilton34497405
St. Joseph34075540
Elkhart27306432
Vanderburgh22077394
Tippecanoe21818212
Porter17940299
Johnson17526374
Hendricks16803310
Clark12688190
Madison12350337
Vigo12211244
Monroe11462166
LaPorte11140204
Delaware10356184
Howard9662211
Kosciusko9127114
Hancock7979139
Bartholomew7888155
Warrick7684155
Floyd7560176
Wayne6899198
Grant6842171
Boone6552100
Morgan6395138
Dubois6084117
Marshall5783108
Dearborn570076
Cass5684102
Henry5577100
Noble542483
Jackson493269
Shelby479095
Lawrence4342118
Gibson428789
Harrison428170
Clinton419053
Montgomery417986
DeKalb410984
Whitley379639
Huntington379480
Miami372565
Knox366389
Steuben365257
Putnam352660
Jasper350546
Wabash347778
Adams337952
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308354
Daviess289299
Wells286381
Decatur278992
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268833
Scott261153
Clay253444
LaGrange253070
Randolph235680
Washington230931
Spencer227931
Jennings224747
Fountain208745
Sullivan207842
Starke204352
Owen192256
Fulton191739
Jay186129
Carroll185820
Perry180336
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113645
Newton103934
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82815
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
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