The GOP rides in on a white horse to save the day with $150,000,000 for the schools.Schools to benefit from improved state revenue forecast
By Dan Carden firstname.lastname@example.org
, (317) 637-9078
nwitimes.com | Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 9:15 am | (4) Comments
INDIANAPOLIS | An increase in projected state revenue over the next two years will permit Indiana to spend an additional $150 million on education, with a portion of the funds dedicated to making full-day kindergarten available statewide.
The details of the state's updated revenue forecast will be released later today, but Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, already announced a portion of the expected funds will be spent on local schools.
Approximately $40 million will be used to make full-day kindergarten available at any school that wants it. Some 75 percent of Indiana schools currently offer full-day kindergarten, but limited funds prevented statewide availability.
"I've been eager to finish that job," Daniels said.
Between $5 million and $10 million is slated to be used for teacher merit raises based on classroom performance, while the remainder of the money will go into the school funding formula for distribution to all Indiana schools.
State lawmakers currently working on Indiana's 2012-13 budget had proposed keeping education spending at the 2011 level of $6.2 billion. That amount includes a $300 million annual cut to local schools that Daniels imposed in 2009 to keep the state's budget balanced in the face of declining state revenue.
With an improving economy boosting sales and income tax revenue for the state, Bosma said he was eager to replace some of the money cut when state revenue was poor.
"Our first priority was budget integrity and adopting a responsible budget without increasing taxes on Hoosier families," Bosma said. "Investing in K-12 education, especially early education opportunities, has always been our caucus' next most important goal."