TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- Educators across the state of Indiana are relieved that the state won’t be cutting funding to K-12 schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, local educators who say this is just the first step to re-opening schools.
On Wednesday, Governor Eric Holcomb announced K through 12 public educations will get the expected increase of 183-million dollars in funding. That announcement is something that local educators were happy to hear.
"Announcing that we aren't going to be losing any money that was a huge burden off of our shoulders,” said Andi Hipsher Co-President of WLEA.
"We were hoping for good news and we got great news," added Les Huddle
Schools will also receive 192-million dollars in federal funding from the CARES Act which can be used for a number of COVID-19 related expenses.
"One of the best things about it is it's flexible it is also a grant where we can plan now and submit the grant but get a quick turnaround amendment," added Huddle.
Schools will also be receiving money from Holcomb’s education relief fund which will provide 61-million dollars for remote learning resources. While these are all positives for public schools local teacher union reps from the West Lafayette Education Association say they won’t stop fighting for a raise for teachers in the coming budget year.
"We are not going away this is an investment in the state of Indiana's future through our children," said Marydell Forbes the CO-President of WLEA.
"Once things can back to normal we can start back with our Red for Ed movement and hopefully keep that at the forefront of people’s minds,” added Hipsher
While administrators are still working out plans to re-open.
"What if we start we have to shut down how are we going to reopen how long are we going to be shut down and how does that impact our teachers and our families," added Huddle.
One teacher’s union rep has a suggestion on how to make up budget shortfalls that can be reinvested in public education.
"Let's say take away the iRead and maybe the grade 10 ISTEP tests that right there would save approximately if I am correct 42 million dollars,” added Forbes. “Take that 42 million pump it back into education. pretty painless."
Neither the Governor nor his budget director gave a clear cut answer on if they will consider adding more funding to K-12 education in the coming budget year for teachers' pay.