Many students are heading back to school, and thanks to the new state budget passed this year, our education system is seeing a $1.9 billion increase in funding over the next two years.
Senator Stacey Donato said in a recent news release, “This includes a $196 million increase in special education funding, a $5 million increase for non-English speaking learners and an increase in the per-student funding to schools educating students in poverty.”
Additionally, while teacher pay is negotiated between local school boards and their teachers, the new budget requires schools to spend at least 45% of their regular state funding on teacher salaries and encourages each school to set its starting teacher pay at no less than $40,000.
The Senator said, “Indiana is also giving more options to parents by increasing eligibility for our successful school choice scholarship program, boosting funding for charter school students, and creating a brand new Education Scholarship Account program for children with special needs.”
Unfortunately, the learning disruptions Hoosier students experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll, and that was made clear in the 2021 ILEARN results. Recognizing this would be the case, the legislature proactively allocated $150 million in grants to address the learning loss remediation needed to get our students back on track.
In addition to the new funding from the state, Hoosier schools are also receiving more than $3 billion in federal stimulus money.
Senator Donato closed her comments saying, “Given these large funding increases, I believe our Hoosier schools should be well-equipped to begin addressing the significant learning loss caused by the pandemic. Making up ground in core areas such as reading and math is absolutely critical to setting our students up for success in the years ahead.”