Teach Plus Indiana commends the Senate on its budget proposal and focus on K-12 support and investment; pushes for further investment in educator retention

Teach Plus Indiana commends the Senate on its budget proposal and focus on K-12 support and investment; pushes for further investment in educator retention

Indianapolis, Indiana, April 19, 2023—Teach Plus Indiana today issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s approved biennium budget proposal and the April revenue forecast which will allow the Indiana General Assembly to appropriate $17.5 billion over the biennium to K-12 tuition support.

“In comparison to the House proposed budget, the Senate approved budget is more conscious of the challenges facing education and better supports Indiana’s students, especially our most vulnerable populations. With expanded investments in special education, increased support for non-English speakers, and an overall increase to complexity for low-income families, the Senate version of the budget will better serve all families in our state,” said Rachel Hathaway, Executive Director of Teach Plus Indiana. “Yet with such a positive April revenue forecast and an already anticipated surplus of $3 billion dollars, Teach Plus teacher leaders urge the legislature to go even further. Schools continue to face ongoing teacher shortages and heightened academic and social-emotional needs of students. We must make bold, explicit investment in programs and incentives to retain Indiana educators and support the needs of students.“

The Senate approved budget increases K-12 tuition support by $1.1 billion over the biennium with a 4.68% increase in FY 2024 ($384 million increase) and a 9.43% increase in FY 2025 ($774 million increase). In addition to raising the foundation for all students, the Senate budget also increases support for special education by $240 million over the two years and for non-English speakers with a $48.5 million investment in FY 2024 and a $50.9 million in FY 2025. Acknowledging the much needed investment for academy recovery, the Senate approved $100 million to support schools and also appropriated an additional $95 million to complexity for low-income families. This support includes an additional $160 million to cover the cost of curricular materials from districts which will help ease any financial burden of the district and the families they serve. While prioritizing similar funding initiatives, the House budget does not include textbook fee funding and would leave districts to cover these costs. Additionally, while the House budget also includes continued historic investments in K-12, the expansion of income eligibility for choice programs raises concerns, as access to these programs for the state’s lowest income families is already a challenge without widening that pool.

“The approved Senate version of the budget improves the quality of education for Indiana students by covering the cost of textbook fees, increasing the family income eligibility cutoff for the state’s On-My Way Pre-K program, and adding to special education funding. With 1.03 million Hoosier students in public schools, this funding will help ensure schools are getting access to resources for all students,” said Emily Wannemuehler, a middle school math teacher from Evansville and Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellow.

“A boon in the Senate budget is the increased investment in the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship by about $6 million per year,” added Ms. Hathaway. ”Efforts like this should continue to be on the forefront of supporting our educators and students in the state.”

As the General Assembly negotiates the differences between the House and Senate budgets, Teach Plus and Teach Plus teacher leaders call on legislators to seize this pivotal moment to continue to invest in Indiana’s students and create an education system where opportunity is available to all children regardless of race, place, or income.

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students. teachplus.org

CONTACT: Rachel Hathaway, 260.452.4873, rhathaway@teachplus.org