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INDIANAPOLIS– Indiana is making a historic investment in education this session, including teacher pay.

Nearly $2 billion dollars will go toward K-12.

“We believe that this is a very good day for Indiana students, our educators and communities,” said Indiana State Teachers Association President Keith Gambill.

When Indiana lawmakers found out the state would be getting $2 billion dollars more than expected in revenue last week, the Indiana State Teachers Association demanded it be spent on education. Lawmakers delivered on that request.

“This is an important time for schools, I’ll just say this because we are making a significant investment,” said Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston.

A record breaking $1.9 billion new dollars will go toward K-12 education and $600 million will be made available for schools to direct at least 45 percent tuition support to teacher pay. Lawmakers recommend a $40,000 dollar starting salary for our state educators.

“We just took the exact language out of the teacher compensation report which is agreed to by a whole number of stakeholders that were put together,” said Speaker Huston.

Governor Eric Holcomb said there are several other good ideas in that report.

“I will be paying more attention to them in the years ahead,” said Holcomb.

“This is a great step in the right direction for Indiana,” said Gambill. “And we look forward to our role in the collective bargaining process.”

“It feels like a lot of pressure on teacher pay has been directed at this building, we’ve stepped up, now it’s time for locals to step up,” said Speaker Huston. “Because we don’t really want to be more prescriptive but with the type of investments we’re making if it doesn’t get to teacher pay, we might just have to be.”

Indiana democrats and the Indiana State Teachers Association remain opposed to the state’s expansion of the school voucher program saying it takes away money from public schools.

“I’m glad that the supermajority has committed more money to the school funding formula. I remain critical of the increases that were made to school choice programs, however. These programs educate less than 10 percent of our students, and simply should not be receiving such a large chunk of the money allocated to educational funding,” said Democratic State Sen. Eddie Melton in a statement. “Over the last several years, Indiana Senate Democrats have been persistent advocates for increased funding to public education and raises for our teachers. We’re especially pleased that after such a difficult year, where schools and teachers took on even more work amid this pandemic, our teachers will finally see their wages increase.” 

Huston defends the school voucher program saying parents want to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their child’s education.

“That’s why our budget will open more doors to more families to find the best educational fit for their child by removing financial barriers,” said Huston.

To read more about this budget proposal, click here.