In a rare joint announcement, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) along with Senate President Pro Tempore David Long (R-Fort Wayne) and Governor Mitch Daniels announced their support for an additional $150 million investment in K-12 education emphasizing early learning opportunities for Hoosier students.
The announcement came prior to the Revenue Forecast Technical Committee meeting. The updated revenue forecast predicts Indiana will receive more than what was projected under prior forecasts.
"Education is an issue of great importance to me as well as my constituents," said Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) today, "hearing the news that additional funding will be available due to the revenue forecast announced this morning, couldn't have come at a better time for our state."
The increased revenues in addition to prudent reserve balances prove that the disciplined financial efforts by Republicans in the General Assembly and the governor are paying off for the State of Indiana.
Education currently makes-up more than 50 percent of the state's budget, and a portion of K-12 education was cut in 2009 due to fiscal revenue being severely low.
While Indiana carefully begins to increase funding for education, many other states across the nation have had to continue to make dramatic cuts to education funding. In Ohio, South Dakota, Florida and Pennsylvania, funding for K-12 education was cut by 10 percent.
Even though $150 million dollar increase is not fully restoring the cuts that were made, due to the unknown financial climate the Speaker stated there is still a need to be prudent. Education is the only area in the state budget that will now show an increase in funding.
A quarter of the $150 million will be used to complete the extension of full-day kindergarten to every school district in the state. A smaller fund will go toward a "teacher excellence" fund, which will reward teachers through pay-based on performance, not seniority.
"Full-day kindergarten is a sound investment for our young Hoosier students-not to mention, our economy and workforce. I am happy to see it become an option for more schools," said Rep. Mahan.
"Our Caucus' core value continues to be fiscal integrity. Because of that primary goal we are able to forward our commitment to K-12 education and put an emphasis on early education," said Speaker Bosma.