Indiana lawmakers emphasize education funding as they prepare to pass final budget

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Indiana Statehouse (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The legislative session could come to a close on Wednesday night with the passage of a final budget.

About 30 minutes after the two-year budget was published, Republican leadership spoke about its key points, most noticeably the education spending.

The budget would direct $700 million in new funding to public schools. It would increase current spending 2.5 percent next year and 2.5 percent in 2022.

Some Democrats are unhappy with the budget because it did not specifically guarantee that teacher’s pay will increase.

Democratic Party chairman John Zody released a statement saying:

“Governor Holcomb and Statehouse Republicans continue to disrespect hardworking Indiana teachers by delaying significant pay hikes for teachers with the slowest-growing salaries in the country. Hoosier teachers have accepted an ‘I owe u’ from Statehouse Republicans for the better part of a decade and that didn’t change this session. Empty promises don’t pay the bills. Today’s event reinforced the simple fact that Indiana Republicans don’t value teachers’ dedication enough to even give them a seat at the table.”

The governor says teachers will see an increase in their checks because of increases made to the “Teacher Appreciation Grant.” The House and Senate voted to increase the total from $30 million to $37.5 Million.

Holcomb also says they are working on a long term plan that would systematically increase pay.

After publishing the budget he released a statement saying:

“From the very beginning, my administration, the House and the Senate shared our top two priorities – passing a balanced budget and protecting our reserves that in turn protects our AAA credit rating and increasing K-12 funding as much as we possibly could. This budget proposal does both. I appreciate the hard work of all of our colleagues as we near the end of this legislative session.”

The budget now goes to the floor of the House where it is expected to be approved.

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