Indiana lawmakers seem cautiously optimistic about Governor Mike Pence’s budget which increases school funding while maintaining a nearly $2 billion surplus, but still leaves some areas up for discussion.
The Governor’s budget includes nearly $200 million in new money for schools, gives charter schools an additional $1500 in per pupil funding and increases the amount available for school vouchers.
It also provides $20 million in more funds for career and technical education while providing $20 million more for pilot pre-K.
The state surplus is maintained to the tune of about $2 billion, while the budget, the Pence administration says, meets or increases its obligations in areas of health, domestic violence and pursuing economic development. It also includes $50 million towards marking the state’s 200th anniversary in 2016. Those funds would come from the one-time sale/lease of some of the state’s cell phone towers. Pence says the budget also continues to pay down state debt and allows for it to pay for new capital projects with cash.
Despite that, lawmakers say they have concerns about increasing funding for some charter schools without the necessary accountability measures. And the budget does not include new funding for local community corrections which will be needed due to changes in the criminal code.
The Governor’s Office say it plans to work out those issues with lawmakers over the next three and a half months.
You can hear audio from the various parties below.
A copy of the Governor’s proposal can be found here.