Indiana is making an unprecedented investment in K-12 education in our next two-year state budget. Half of all state spending is already dedicated to K-12 education, and Indiana is investing a historic $1.9 billion in new money over the biennium. These additional dollars include $600 million annually to increase teacher pay.
Our investment fulfills and exceeds the $600 million needed to meet the governor’s Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission‘s recommendations to make Indiana’s teacher pay more competitive. With this additional funding, locals should be in a strong position to raise minimum starting teacher salaries $40,000. To ensure our investment is being used to support students and teachers directly, schools are required to dedicate at least 45% of tuition support to teacher pay. If these benchmarks are not met, corporations must report to the Indiana Department of Education or apply for a waiver.
In addition to raising teacher pay, lawmakers furthered their commitment to students and teachers by appropriating $150 million to establish the Student Learning Recovery Grant program, which will help students who have fallen behind their peers due to COVID-19. Increased funding will be available for special education grants and complexity grants to help Indiana’s most vulnerable students. In addition, career and technical education programs will continue to be supported, providing students opportunities to pursue trade occupations while in high school. Non-English speaking programs will also see increased funding over the next two years. Each year, $1 million will be allocated for the teacher residency grant program, and $37.5 million will be available for Teacher Appreciation Grants, which reward highly effective and effective educators.
With these record-breaking investments in public school funding, lawmakers also expanded our School Choice Scholarship Program, which removes financial hurdles for families who want to choose the best educational fit for their child. In addition, lawmakers created the Indiana Education Scholarship Account to empower parents with special education students to select a school that meets their unique needs.
This historic state funding is on top of the $2.8 billion in federal money sent to Indiana schools.
This new budget is a huge win for Hoosier students and teachers, and it is thanks to Indiana’s conservative leadership and strategic investments over the last decade. While the state continues to prioritize K-12 education, the next budget also reduces taxpayer-funded debt by over $1 billion, provides opportunities for future tax cuts and reforms, and makes critical investments in infrastructure, broadband, mental health and law enforcement. Click here to learn more about the next two-year budget.