INDIANAPOLIS – The legislative agenda first-term Governor Eric Holcomb unveiled on Thursday was so astonishingly tone-deaf, even his most ardent backers must be scratching their heads. At a time when 91 percent of Indiana’s school superintendents have reported experiencing a teacher shortage, Holcomb’s agenda gutted a teacher bonus program and shelved pay increases until 2021. He put on ice any expansion of early childhood education for at least three years, while pitching another package of corporate tax incentives.
From the Times of Northwest Indiana Holcomb unveils modest agenda for upcoming legislative session; some Hoosier teachers may see a pay cut
“In fact, some Hoosier teachers potentially will see a pay cut if Holcomb succeeds in his goal of eliminating the $30 million currently allocated each year for the Teacher Appreciation Grant performance-pay program.
“Likewise, the governor is not seeking more money for the state’s On My Way pre-kindergarten pilot program that currently serves about 3,000 children in 20 counties, including Lake, disappointing those who view universal pre-K as essential to preparing Hoosier 4-year-olds for school and eventually for work.”
At a time when Indiana is ranked nearly dead last in quality of life and with teacher pay flat for nearly two decades, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody condemned Holcomb’s tin-eared agenda.
“There’s no way to categorize Holcomb’s last budget session agenda before re-election than as an unmitigated disaster,” said Zody. “It’s clear ‘Next Level’ means wait until the next decade because Holcomb is unable or unwilling to tackle Indiana’s burgeoning teacher shortage crisis. How many Hoosier 4-year-olds will miss their shot at success because their governor refuses to think boldly? This is about priorities. Governor Holcomb is either overmatched or out of ideas, because it’s hard to find even one way his agenda benefits working families.”