Early Friday morning, in a rare joint announcement by Governor Daniels, Speaker Bosma and Senate Pro Tem David Long, they announced their support for $150 million investment in K-12 education emphasizing early learning opportunities for Hoosier students.
Updated revenue forecasts have cited that state revenues will be higher than predicted. Of the increased revenues, a portion will go to our state's reserves and the rest is to be invested in education. Education will be the only area in the budget to have an increase in funding.
Of the 150 million, a quarter will be used to extend full day kindergarten to all schools across Indiana and a smaller fund will go towards a "teacher excellence" fund which will reward teachers through pay based on performance.
Funding education has been House Republicans' top priority. The recession forced a tightening of the belt and required some plans to be put on hold, but through fiscal integrity, we can now provide our students with this early learning opportunity.
The benefits of all day kindergarten are vast and immense. The more time our students have with great teachers, the better off they will be. Research shows students are better prepared for success in elementary school and are less likely to drop out of school before graduation if they were enrolled in full-day kindergarten.
Full-day kindergarten can ensure a student is on track for long-term academic success, especially among low-income and minority students. This is one more step in fulfilling our quest of providing all Indiana youth with a high quality education. Full day kindergarten in an investment in the future of Indiana and will allow us to be more competitive as a state for generations to come.
Recently both the M.S.D of Mount Vernon and North Posey County announced the addition of full day kindergarten. Full day kindergarten will make a big difference for the children in our community and will put our children on the path to academic success. With this announcement, now no child will have to go without this excellent learning opportunity.
Another big announcement made last week was the approval for the construction of a new teacher's theatre on the University of Southern Indiana's (USI) campus. On Friday, it was announced that USI will receive $16.5 million to construct the new building.
The House Budget Committee approved this project, which will replace the existing theatre, costume shop and scene shop at USI. The proposed theatre will be approximately 21,929 square feet, will seat approximately 350 people and will be constructed adjacent to the University Center.
The development of the new teaching theatre will continue to make USI a competitive school and will further facilitate the development of the arts in our community. I am pleased that the Ways and Means Committee decided to support this project which will make USI more desirable to prospective students and allow the school to increase the academic caliber of their programs.
A solid education is best thing we can equip a child with to serve them throughout their life. An education is an invaluable tool and changes lives. I am pleased to live in a state that understands the importance of this. Our economy will reap the benefits of investing in education.
Throughout my tenure as a representative, I will continue to advocate on the behalf education and applaud Governor Daniels, Speaker Bosma and Senate Pro Tem Long for fiscal integrity and investing in education.