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Indiana governor suggests another boost for teacher pay

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is looking to dip slightly into the state’s reserves for more money toward a goal of boosting teacher pay.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 7:34 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 9:30 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is looking to dip slightly into the state’s reserves for more money toward a goal of boosting teacher pay.

Holcomb used his State of the State speech Tuesday evening to announce plans to seek $140 million in the new two-year state budget to pay off teacher pension obligations owed by school districts. The Republican governor said 100 percent of that money should go toward teacher pay raises.

“Just like paying off your mortgage frees up money in your personal budget, this state investment will save all local schools $140 million over the biennium with continued savings thereafter,” Holcomb said in remarks released in advance of the speech.

The extra money would amount to about 1 percent more funding to Indiana school districts, which are receiving an estimated $7.16 billion in state funding this school year.

Holcomb and GOP legislative leaders have talked about the importance of finding ways to address Indiana’s lagging teacher salaries, but the governor last week proposed just a 2 percent funding increase for public schools each of the next two years.

Democrats have suggested tapping into the state’s $1.8 billion reserves to give additional funding to schools.

Holcomb wants to protect that reserve, saying it preserves Indiana’s top credit rating and is insurance against a recession. But Holcomb said Tuesday that the state can use “surplus” money to pay the teacher pension debt and still maintain the reserve figure.

It isn’t clear how much the $140 million could boost pay for the state’s roughly 60,000 public schools teachers. The extra money amounts to about $1,200 per teacher each year of the two-year state budget, but local school boards would still decide how to spend their state funding.

Holcomb also renewed his support for a state hate crimes law , telling the Republican-dominated Legislature that Indiana needs to end its status as one of just five states without laws specifically targeting crimes fueled by biases regarding race, religion and sexual orientation.

Repeated efforts for an Indiana law have failed amid fierce opposition from conservatives who maintain it would unfairly create specially-protected classes of victims and wrongly restrict free speech.

Holcomb said the new law should follow the state’s employee anti-harassment policy, which has a list that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Businesses interested in Indiana care about this issue, but it’s not just about business,” Holcomb said. “At heart, this has to do with people’s dignity and how we treat one another.”

Democratic Rep. Greg Porter of Indianapolis, who has sponsored hate crimes bills since the 1990s, said before Holcomb’s speech that he believed the governor needed to make a strong push for it to win passage in the Legislature.

“He has to be passionate about it,” Porter said. “It cannot be just a gloss over.”

Republican Rep. Curt Nisly of Goshen, an opponent of adopting a new hate crimes law, was unmoved by Holcomb’s argument, maintaining that current state law already gives judges the authority to consider crime motivations in sentencing, even though protected classes aren’t specified.

“This gives equal protection for all, the way that we already have it,” Nisly said. “Other states should be copying us, instead of us trying to copy other states.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 32437

Reported Deaths: 2030
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9371546
Lake3347170
Cass15867
Allen135366
St. Joseph121834
Hendricks113567
Hamilton112391
Johnson1092104
Elkhart107028
Madison58259
Porter49521
Bartholomew48634
Clark47141
LaPorte41523
Tippecanoe3803
Howard37620
Jackson3681
Delaware35936
Hancock32327
Shelby32121
Floyd31539
Boone29335
Morgan27024
Vanderburgh2532
Montgomery23317
White2288
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19521
Noble19221
Harrison18821
Dubois1852
Henry1709
Greene16824
Warrick16528
Dearborn16421
Monroe16211
Vigo1507
Lawrence14623
Miami1391
Putnam1347
Jennings1284
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1136
Franklin1068
Kosciusko971
Carroll932
Daviess8416
Marshall801
Steuben802
Wayne755
Newton7410
Wabash732
Fayette714
Jasper621
LaGrange622
Washington521
Fulton471
Jay460
Randolph453
Rush452
Jefferson421
Whitley412
Clay411
Pulaski400
Owen341
Sullivan331
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke313
Perry260
Wells260
Huntington262
Knox250
Benton250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford202
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke180
Spencer171
Posey160
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0159

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 114306

Reported Deaths: 5083
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook745213455
Lake7845270
DuPage7350347
Kane5947162
Will5279264
Winnebago200152
McHenry147569
St. Clair103573
Kankakee80843
Kendall73619
Rock Island63823
Champaign5807
Madison54457
Boone41016
Sangamon33727
DeKalb3343
Randolph2644
Jackson24210
McLean21513
Out of IL2051
Stephenson1942
Ogle1932
Macon18919
Peoria1888
Clinton17817
Union1437
LaSalle14013
Whiteside13410
Iroquois1314
Coles11912
Warren1130
Unassigned1100
Jefferson10116
Knox940
Monroe9311
Grundy882
McDonough837
Lee761
Tazewell693
Cass680
Henry670
Williamson572
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin431
Perry410
Pulaski410
Montgomery391
Vermilion371
Morgan341
Christian334
Jo Daviess310
Livingston312
Douglas260
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Woodford182
Mason170
Menard170
Mercer160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Hancock150
Carroll142
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
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