Staying committed to education
As a father of four young boys, who always wants the best for my children, I know how important education is to their success later in life. In fact, improving Indiana’s education system is one of the reasons why I wanted to serve in the Legislature. That is why I have been thrilled to be member of the House Education Committee, and I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the last two years.
During last year’s legislative session, our priority was passing a balanced budget while being able to increase funding to Hoosier schools. As a state and a nation, we need to strive to make sure that every child, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances, has the opportunity to receive a high quality education, which is critical to obtaining high-demand jobs in today’s competitive marketplace. That starts with investing in our education system, so we can provide the necessary resources for our teachers and students to excel.
This past session, I supported House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1004 which established a preschool pilot program for students from low-income families. Children of poverty start out their education almost a year and a half behind their peers, and House Republicans have worked hard to change that. Through HEA 1004, low-income students will be on track with their peers and be able to set themselves up for success, gaining more career opportunities in the future.
As a recap, the state’s biennial budget increased K-12 education funding by $390 million, with K-12 appropriations exceeding pre-recession funding levels; increased by 2 percent in fiscal year 2014 and 1 percent in fiscal year 2015. In addition to the K-12 funding, the General Assembly also approved an additional $30 million for K-12 performance funding in fiscal year 2015, created an Early Education Matching Grant program, invested an additional $190 million over the biennium for higher education and increased funding for student financial aid by $75 million over the biennium.
Specifically in District 74, there was an increase of over $2.5 million from the 2010 budget to our current state budget. The breakdown of these numbers goes as follows:
• Crawford County School Corporation received a total increase of $522,104 in education funding
• Southeast Dubois County School Corporation received a total increase of $228,784
• Southwest Dubois County received a total increase of $306,670
• Paoli Community School Corporation received a total increase of $312,000
• Springs Valley Community School Corporation received a total increase of $260,360
• Perry Central Community School Corporation received a total increase of $116,812
• Cannelton City School Corporation received a total increase of $118,898
• Tell City- Troy Township School Corporation received a total increase of $279,168
• North Spencer County School Corporation received a total increase of $511,407
While this was a great start in investing in our children’s future, much more work is needed to be done. During the 2015 session, we will discuss Indiana’s budget for the next two years. I am confident that education will continue to be a priority in the General Assembly.
I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that every Hoosier child has the opportunity to receive a high quality education, and I will continue to keep you informed about how Indiana is working to strengthen that system. Again, as a father and state representative, I know that investing in education is vital to Hoosier families, and I am proud to be able to improve our education system to ensure our state’s continued success.