INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana schools would see a 6% funding boost next year under state spending plans announced Wednesday by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
The Republican governor’s plan would give K-12 schools their largest funding increase in more than a decade even amid worries about an expected slowdown in the growth of state tax collections. The extra money comes with the goal of boosting the statewide average teacher pay by about $3,000 to at least $60,000 a year.
Holcomb’s proposal comes as the Republican-dominated Legislature is set to start its 2023 session on Monday, with its primary business being the adoption of a new two-year state budget.
The governor’s proposals also include eliminating textbook fees for public school students by directing $160 million toward local schools to cover that cost. Indiana is among a handful of states still allowing textbook fees, with Democrats and many education advocates long criticizing them as an unfair extra cost to families.
Other spending proposals include $300 million over the next two years to bolster local public health programs. The state now directs about $7 million a year to county health departments, which are primarily funded by local taxes.