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New Indiana Senate budget plan gives slight school funding boost

Posted at 3:27 PM, Apr 11, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new state budget plan would send some more money to Indiana schools but at a level short of what advocacy groups say is needed for teacher pay raises.

Republican Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Ryan Mishler said Thursday the proposal would boost base school funding by 2.7% in the first year and 2.2% in the second year of the new two-year state budget.

School funding would increase by just over 2% each of the next two years under a proposal approved in February by the Indiana House. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and GOP legislative leaders have touted the importance of addressing Indiana's lagging teacher salaries, but education advocacy groups estimate a 9% funding increase is needed to boost average teacher pay to the midpoint of Indiana's neighboring states.

Senate Democrats proposed amendments to the Senate's budget, one of which would've guaranteed a 5 percent salary increase for teachers, counselors and social workers. The salary increases would cost the state about $315 million over the next two years. The amendments were voted down along party lines in the Senate Appropriations Committee.