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 has been my top priority this session because educating Hoosier's is not only vital to their future, but to the state's future as well," said Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany). "As a result of careful management we are now in a position to invest additional money into education, including providing funding for full-day kindergarten for every school."
"Early childhood programs, such as Indiana's full day kindergarten, are sound investments for Indiana's children, economy and future."
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.
A quarter of the $150 million will be used to provide funding for 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.
"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.