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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: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
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