Bacon: Strengthening our commitment to Hoosier students, educators

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Friday, May 3, 2019 3:26 pm

During the 2019 legislative session, one of the General Assembly’s biggest priorities was to pass an honestly balanced budget funding state operations for the next two years. By working diligently, lawmakers finished ahead of schedule and under budget while accomplishing our top goals. The new budget includes a record investment in K-12 public education while maintaining the state’s healthy reserves.

This historic increase in K-12 public education includes $763 million in new funding over the previous state budget. Supporting education is always a priority, and this significant boost in funding will benefit students and teachers. To directly support teachers, lawmakers increased funding for Teacher Appreciation Grants from $30 million to $37.5 million per year to reward effective and highly effective educators.

The budget also includes a $150 million payment to an unfunded pension liability for Hoosier teachers, freeing up an estimated $70 million in annual savings to school budgets. Schools are strongly encouraged to direct these savings into increasing teacher pay. Studies show that, outside of parents, high-quality teachers are the most significant factor to a student’s success. Teachers play a critical role in our society, and it is important they receive adequate compensation for their hard work and dedication to Hoosier students.

We also funded teacher residency programs to better prepare educators to enter the classroom on day one, as well as teacher career ladders that increase opportunities for professional growth and advancement. These programs will help prepare new educators and encourage highly effective teachers to stay in the classroom. 

This historic investment in K-12 education will benefit students and educators across the state. Although session is over, I will soon begin attending summer committee hearings and review ideas for legislation for next year. Please continue reaching out to me with input or questions at h75@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9643.

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State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75, 
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.