Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), ranking Republican on the Education Committee, feels the 2010 session was a victory for teachers. Today was Sine Die, or "Last Day," at the Indiana Statehouse.
For the past two years, as the state of Indiana has continued to lose income and sales tax revenue due to the national recession, every state agency except schools has undergone severe cuts and employee salary freezes.
Late last year, Governor Daniels announced that schools would have to share some of that burden. He recommended that schools reduce spending by $300 million; preferably in overhead costs since only 40 cents of every school dollar is spent inside the classroom.
House Bill 1367, which was finally passed today, allows schools the flexibility to shuffle money between various funds to make up for some of the lost revenue.
"Many ideas for helping schools cope with funding cuts have been proposed in the last few months," said Rep. Behning. "Under a proposal I put forth, I would have guaranteed no teacher layoffs in return for funding flexibility. Unfortunately, a less helpful proposal was passed.
"However, under the circumstances, this bill is a good thing for Indiana. It's a victory for teachers, and more importantly, it's a victory for Hoosier schoolchildren."
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives also passed one bill allowing the Illiana Expressway to be built without legislative approval.
House Joint Resolution 1, one of the most important accomplishments of the session, was passed early on. It would graft property tax caps into the state constitution after being approved by voters on the November ballot.
The act of giving homeowners, farmers and business owners the chance to cap their own taxes was the most sweeping tax reform Indiana has seen in several decades. The vast majority of Hoosiers want the opportunity to vote on this critical issue.