Hendricks County lawmakers respond to new state budget, 'historic' K-12 investments

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Friday, April 23, 2021 7:00 am

Note to the press: Please include the following statements from State Reps. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) and Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) in your coverage of the new two-year state budget plan passing the Indiana General Assembly Thursday, which includes historic increases to K-12 public education. The new budget will provide $600 million in additional funding to public schools annually – fulfilling and exceeding the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission's recommendations for increasing teacher salaries. The budget also recommends schools set starting teacher salaries at $40,000 and requires schools to dedicate at least 45% of tuition support dollars to teacher pay. In total, the budget increases K-12 spending by $1.9 billion over the biennium. The plan includes substantial investments in expanding school choice and mental health services, and boosting Indiana's critical infrastructure. The budget plan reflects the April fiscal forecast that increases Indiana's revenue projections by $2.4 billion over the next three years:   

STATEHOUSE (April 23, 2021) – "Relying on fiscal responsibility, our state weathered the past year better than expected. While other states are looking at tough budget cuts, Indiana has the opportunity to make strong investments in Hoosier priorities. With half our budget already dedicated to K-12 education, we are increasing education funding by an additional $1.9 billion over the next two years. With this investment, Indiana is meeting and exceeding the recommendations for increasing teacher salaries that were proposed by the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission. Local school boards must prioritize this funding to make sure it supports raising teacher pay," said State Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), chair of the House Ways and Means K-12 Subcommittee.

"Indiana consistently puts education at the top of the priority list when it comes to funding, and this year is no exception. Before the most recent revenue forecast, schools across the state were expected to see an increase in funding. Thanks to our strong conservative leadership and our economy rebounding, our state is able to further our commitment to Hoosier students and educators, and increase our investment substantially. Locals should use this additional funding to increase educator salaries to help retain and attract top talent in our classrooms," said State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), chair of the House Education Committee.

"This state budget makes an unprecedented investment in our K-12 schools, including providing an additional $600 million to public schools annually to increase teacher pay. This funding exceeds the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission's recommendations and will help draw more Hoosiers into the teaching profession. Schools will be asked to set their minimum starting salary to $40,000 a year, and required to direct at least 45% of tuition support dollars to teacher pay. If these benchmarks aren't met, schools will have to report to the state as to why not. This historic education funding is in addition to key investments for infrastructure, mental health and law enforcement, all while reducing taxpayer-funded debt, and providing opportunities for future tax cuts and reforms," said State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon). 

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Click here for a link to a summary of the Conference Committee Report on House Bill 1001,

and here for the state's two-year budget plan now with the governor for consideration.

State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91,
which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) represents House District 40,
which includes a portion of Hendricks County.
Click 
here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton) represents House District 28,
which includes portions of Hendricks and Boone counties.
Click 
here to download a high-resolution photo.