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House Republicans Unveil Proposed Budget; Confident About Education Funding

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Politics, Statewide News
Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers) is an architect of the House Republican budget proposal. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers) is an architect of the House Republican budget proposal. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Indiana House Republicans want to increase education funding by about 2 percent each year in the new state budget – little more than inflation.

The House GOP caucus unveiled its budget proposal Tuesday.

Statehouse leaders of both parties say increasing teacher pay is a top priority. The House Republican budget gives schools an additional $461 million over the next two years, a little more than the current inflation rate in increases per year.

The caucus budget also includes Gov. Eric Holcomb’s proposal to spend state reserve dollars to fully fund a teacher pension fund, which will free up some money for schools to spend – potentially on teachers.

The House GOP broke with Holcomb over existing teacher appreciation grants, money that goes to high-performing educators. The governor proposed eliminating that program; House Republicans’ draft keep it in place.

House Republican budget architect Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers) says GOP leaders are confident they’ve made a significant education investment

“We really dug deep,” Huston says. “We left a lot of programs on the table that I’m sure other people are disappointed weren’t included because we wanted to show the foundational investment we were going to make in the K-12.”

But that sentiment isn’t shared by lawmakers on the other side of the aisle.

Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis) questions how the GOP devotes its education funding resources.

“We always talk about what we’re doing is better than the last budget,” Porter says. “But you say, ‘OK so, how much money is going for the vouchers? How much is going for charter schools?’”

The budget proposal also gives the Department of Child Services all the money it’s asked for – $286 million more per year than the agency got in the last budget.

The full House will vote on the budget in the coming days. Republicans hold a supermajority and need no Democratic votes to pass the legislation.