|Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R)|
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana K-12 education may see half of the money that was cut in cost saving moves two years ago restored.
$300 million in funding was reduced for Indiana public education in 2008 by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels as the state faced dwindling tax revenues.
School districts around the state were forced to take serious action to close their budget gaps.
Now, those districts may be have a little more money to work with over the next two years.
Daniels announced Friday that the state’s revenues are now doing better than expected. A new revenue forecast shows Indiana will collect about $643 million more than predicted just four months ago.
“Coupled with the discipline dividend from years of careful spending control, this forecast, if it proves accurate, means that the state will have a little larger margin of fiscal safety looking ahead,” the governor said, adding that the new forecast is no reason to abandon caution or relax discipline developed over the last two years.
The governor – noting that Indiana leads the nation in the percentage of general fund expenditures dedicated to public education – said he and leaders in state legislature have agreed to restore $150 million to public K-12 education in the new two-year budget now being crafted at the Statehouse.
Daniels expects about a quarter of that money be used to fund full-day kindergarten for districts across the state.
“Having brought FDK to roughly three-fourths of our 5-year-olds over the last four years, I have been eager to finish that job, and I thank those legislators whose support in restraining spending in other areas has created the discipline dividend that now makes it possible,” said Daniels.
Other portions of the money will allow districts to afford new merit pay for teachers.
“Another smaller fund will provide new dollars to pay our best teachers more in the new system of rewarding performance, not seniority,” he said.
The legislature has until April 29 to complete work on a new two-year budget.