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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.

Confirmed Cases: 150664

Reported Deaths: 4008
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24697784
Lake13220352
St. Joseph8877159
Elkhart8469132
Allen7880222
Hamilton5962113
Vanderburgh559360
Tippecanoe354714
Monroe320738
Hendricks3183130
Johnson2995128
Porter297848
Clark285461
Delaware282074
Vigo252637
Madison229593
Cass222021
LaPorte215557
Warrick188464
Kosciusko176823
Floyd174867
Howard158866
Bartholomew139758
Dubois135125
Marshall132526
Henry122628
Grant120939
Wayne119327
Boone118848
Hancock114145
Noble113533
Jackson108713
Morgan92240
Dearborn91628
Daviess84033
Gibson83411
Clinton81616
Shelby79429
Lawrence78534
LaGrange76715
Harrison74024
Putnam71016
Knox70310
DeKalb69411
Posey6796
Steuben6008
Fayette58517
Miami5845
Montgomery57222
White56815
Jasper5624
Greene51837
Scott50813
Decatur49839
Adams4725
Clay4346
Whitley4316
Sullivan42812
Ripley4228
Wells4155
Starke3937
Wabash3919
Orange38725
Huntington3785
Spencer3706
Franklin36525
Jennings36013
Washington3592
Randolph3398
Fulton3362
Jefferson3305
Pike31913
Carroll31413
Perry29514
Jay2876
Fountain2863
Tipton26823
Parke2203
Newton21811
Vermillion2181
Rush2044
Owen2021
Martin1950
Blackford1923
Crawford1491
Pulaski1471
Brown1303
Ohio1227
Benton1070
Union1040
Switzerland890
Warren751
Unassigned0233

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