Indiana governor suggests another boost for teacher pay

Staff Writer

Associated Press

    INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is looking to dip slightly into the state's reserves for more money toward a goal of boosting teacher pay.
    Holcomb used his State of the State speech Tuesday evening to announce plans to seek $140 million in the new two-year state budget to pay off teacher pension obligations owed by school districts. The Republican governor said 100 percent of that money should go toward teacher pay raises.
    "Just like paying off your mortgage frees up money in your personal budget, this state investment will save all local schools $140 million over the biennium with continued savings thereafter," Holcomb said.
    The extra money would amount to about 1 percent more funding to Indiana school districts, which are receiving an estimated $7.16 billion in state funding this school year.
    Holcomb and GOP legislative leaders have talked about the importance of finding ways to address Indiana's lagging teacher salaries, but the governor last week proposed just a 2 percent funding increase for public schools each of the next two years.
    Democrats have suggested tapping into the state's $1.8 billion reserves to give additional funding to schools.
    Holcomb wants to protect that reserve, saying it preserves Indiana's top credit rating and is insurance against a recession. But Holcomb said Tuesday that the state can use "surplus" money to pay the teacher pension debt and still maintain the reserve figure.
    To read more of the story, see page 2A of the Jan. 17, 2019, edition of The Decatur Daily Democrat.