Luke Kenley

Rachel Morello /

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz outlined the Department of Education’s proposed budget Thursday to the state budget committee.

The main concern of committee members was the cost of testing.

Ritz’s proposal included a request for $65 million dollars for testing and remediation.

State education leaders are still in the process of creating a new assessment for the 2015-16 school year. That test will align with state-specific academic standards schools began implementing this year.

Chris Potter /

The General Assembly‘s fiscal analysts release their updated economic forecast next week, kicking off the four-month process of crafting a new state budget.

Governor Pence and fiscal leaders in the House and Senate have said they intend to propose increased school funding for the next two years, but they‘ll rely on next week‘s forecast to fill in the specific dollar amounts for schools and the rest of state government.

At the beginning of each school year, families in Indiana’s public schools are hit with bills that include activity fees, class fees and the largest line item- textbook fees. Textbook rental fees cost parents on average about $100 per child.

Frustrating to most parents is the knowledge that Indiana is one of only eight states that charge for textbooks.

That is why state superintendent Glenda Ritz announced earlier this month that she wants to eliminate this financial burden for families.

Ellspermann: Address Skills Gap With More 2-Year Degrees

Sep 19, 2014
State of Indiana /

Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor says the state needs to rely more heavily on two-year degree programs and institutions to close the postsecondary skills gap.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana’s Senate budget leader says the legislature needs to focus more on the tax climate for all Hoosiers, not just businesses. 

A study from the Council on State Taxation reports that Indiana’s tax burden on businesses is the lowest of any of its neighbors.  It’s also among the ten lowest in the country. 

The Council’s Senior Tax Counsel Fred Nicely says the one area Indiana could improve is its business personal property tax.

Indiana Senate Republicans have rejected an attempt to revive a preschool pilot program that was eliminated in a Senate committee last week. 

The House overwhelmingly approved legislation creating a pilot program that would provide vouchers for one thousand low-income Hoosier children to attend preschool.  But the Senate Education Committee gutted the bill, replacing the pilot program with a study committee that will examine specific issues with pre-Kindergarten education.  South Bend Democratic Senator John Broden wants to add the pilot program back into the bill

A pilot program aimed at providing pre-kindergarten educational opportunities for low-income Hoosier kids has been stripped out of a bill in a Senate committee. 

The program – a major initiative of Governor Mike Pence – was replaced with a mandated study of the issue.

A bill being proposed by a Lafayette-area lawmaker would exempt military pay from Indiana’s income tax.

Military service members can currently exempt up to $5,000 of their pay.

State Senator Ron Alting’s bill would raise that exemption to 100% beginning in January 2015. 

The change would cut more than $36-million from state revenues, with that amount expected to increase each year.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

House and Senate leaders say they’ve reached an agreement on the final two year budget.  They say it includes significant increases for education and roads funding.

Though the budget isn’t expected to officially pass until late Friday, House and Senate fiscal leaders have hammered out a deal that includes more than $300 million in funding increases for K through 12 education.  House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the budget goes beyond the goal of restoring education funding to pre-recession levels.

A new revenue forecast predicts even stronger tax revenue growth for Indiana over the next two years. However, House and Senate fiscal leaders say it will not dramatically alter budget negotiations.

The April revenue forecast unveiled Tuesday shows a $290 million increase from December projections, with the biggest predicted gains coming from individual income taxes.