INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A more optimistic state revenue forecast means an
additional $150 million can go to Indiana’s public schools, partially
restoring funding cuts made over the past two years, Gov. Mitch Daniels said
Daniels said he
and legislative leaders have agreed that about a quarter of that money will
go toward ensuring full-day kindergarten is provided in all school
districts. About 75 percent of districts now offer full-day kindergarten
the program to three-quarters of school districts over the past four years,
Daniels said he was “eager to finish the job.”
He said any
additional tax revenue will be kept in the state’s reserve.
“This is prudent
and leaves a lot of room for error,” Daniels said.
The State Budget
Committee expected to receive the updated revenue forecast later Friday.
Legislators will use the forecast to make final decisions on the two-year
spending plan that the General Assembly is expected to approve by the end of
plans would have kept overall K-12 education funding at current levels after
cuts of about $450 million, or about 3 percent, ordered by Daniels over the
past two years.
Daniels said $10
million to $12 million of the additional money would go toward a teacher
merit pay program that is nearing approval in the Legislature.
That would leave
about $100 million to be distributed among the state’s school districts over
the next two years.
plan approved by the House last month allocates about $6.25 billion a year
in operating money for public schools — nearly half of the state budget. The
Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled on Monday to vote on a revised
Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort
Wayne, joined Daniels at Friday’s news conference, with both saying the plan
to direct additional money to schools would have wide support among
education is a critical component for our young people,” Long said.
“Full-day K is a very important part of that.”