Indiana Senate Republicans have unveiled their budget proposal and while it includes more money for schools, only $90 million would go directly toward teacher pay in the form of grants.

The $34.6 billion spending plan includes $775 million  in new funding for education.

The plan does adopt Governor Eric Holcomb’s proposal to use $150 million to pay off teacher pension debt which would free up dollars for teacher pay.   In addition, school districts would be required to hold public hearings on how they plan to use those savings.

The plan also increases teacher appreciation grant funding by $30 million to $90 million, however at least a third of the stipends must go to teachers with less than five years experience.  And a teacher must be ranked as either effective or highly effective to qualify for the grant.

The plan also increases per pupil student funding from $6,727 per student to $7,022.  The Senate budget also keeps the funding ratio the same for children in poverty.

Other budget highlights include…

  • $16 million for school safety grants in FY 2020 and $14 million in FY 2021.
  • Sets funding for students in virtual charter schools at 80% of basic tuition support.
  • Increases higher ed funding by nearly $70 million over the biennium to $4.2 billion.
  • Increases funding for DCS funding by $466 million over the next two years, but sets aside more than $100 million in case the agency needs the funds.
  • Tightens the qualifications for communities to receive rural broadband funding.
  • Fully funds Medicaid at $5 billion over biennium.
  • Provides $6 million for counties to jail overcrowding.

The budget also leaves $2.2 billion in reserves.   The Senate budget is formally being presenting this morning.