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Holcomb On Teacher Raises: Framework First, Funding Second

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Teacher pay has been on the minds of many educators and policy makers this year, in Indiana and nationwide. (Zach Herndon,. WFIU/WTIU News)

Teacher pay is a key part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s agenda for 2019, but he says significant raises might not happen for another two years.

Gov. Holcomb’s education plans for 2019 align with what state leaders have already said: Indiana’s budget session will be tight. So when it comes to getting more money in the hands of educators, he says actual raises might have to wait for the 2021 budget.

“Now we have to make sure the numbers work and the revenue is there,” he says. “We’re being very not just methodical, but careful to get this right, and every time you move one piece of the puzzle it affects another.”

Lawmakers say they’ve been working with the Indiana State Teachers Association and other education groups on a plan to boost pay for teachers and elevate the profession of teaching.

But Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick tweeted after Holcomb revealed his strategy, calling for immediate action.

Holcomb also wants to “repurpose” the state’s Teacher Appreciation Grant fund. The fund sends performance-based bonus money to schools for their highly rated teachers, and lawmakers approved $30 million for it in 2017, and another $30 million for 2018. 

Holcomb wants to use the money instead, to increase the teacher school supplies tax credit from $100 to $500, and send more tuition support funding to schools with what’s left over.

Early childhood education is also featured on Holcomb’s agenda. He wants to boost pre-K quality and capacity through the state’s On My Way Pre-K program – but keep funding at current levels and expand the program statewide in 2021.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story noted lawmakers approved $30 million for the state's Teacher Appreciation Grant. We have updated this story to clarify lawmakers approved another $30 million for the fund in 2018.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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