INDIANAPOLIS – Ahead of his afternoon budget signing, let’s take a look at markers Governor Holcomb laid down concerning key issues and whether the first-term governor met his own standards.
Teacher pay –
There’s no across-the-board mechanism to significantly increase Hoosier educators’ pay in the budget Holcomb signs today. Sure, there’s an increase in education funding, but Holcomb himself said that that method doesn’t raise teacher pay: “we increase tuition support in nearly every budget, and teacher salaries don’t increase appreciably,” he said.
Question: If Holcomb doesn’t believe raising overall education funding raises teacher pay, as he said, then how did he increase teacher pay this session?
Department of Child Services –
In January, Holcomb implored lawmakers to keep their word on fully funding the Department of Child Services: “now is not the time to pull back resources right when we’re starting to see such progress.” Lawmakers responded by failing to meet the agency’s full request.
Question: Why is the governor signing a budget that pulls back resources for DCS?
School funding –
Governor Holcomb linked arms with House and Senate GOP leadership last week touting a ‘historic increase’ in education funding but some education officials weren’t impressed. Tom Rohr, retiring superintendent of North Central Parke had this to say about Holcomb’s historic increase: “the state needs to recognize that small rural districts continue to struggle even though there are statewide average increases.”
Question: How is this budget a ‘historic increase’ when traditional public schools’ aggregate appropriation is barely above inflation and some schools continue to see their funding fall?
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody wasn’t impressed with Holcomb’s second budget.
“Today, Holcomb signs a budget that stacks the odds against Hoosier families and fuels a growing divide in our economy and state,” said Zody. “It’s a missed opportunity.”