Senate lawmakers heard hours of testimony Thursday from teachers and education professionals urging the state to give schools, and ultimately teachers, more money.
The House approved a budget proposal to boost school funding by a little more than 2 percent each year through 2021, but many who testified in the senate's school funding committee - including Brownsburg teacher Christianne Beebe - say current proposals are not enough for schools to increase teacher pay and still address basic needs.
"When local control is touted as the solution to the teacher pay crisis, instead of additional state funding," she says. "Teachers may gain a pay increase but will undoubtedly lose support staff, administrative help, smaller class sizes, professional development, and more."
Teachers and superintendents at the meeting also raised concerns about a recent proposed change to what's called complexity funding. It provides additional dollars to schools based on their population of low-income students. Lawmakers are proposing a roughly 14 percent - or $105 million - cut to complexity dollars to put more resources into basic tuition support.
Anderson Community Schools Superintendent Tim Smith says more money in the overall school funding formula is good, but says taking it from complexity funding will mean less support for schools that need it the most.
"Our schools today deal with so much more than they had to do years ago," Smith says. "Complexity is what schools are made of."
Lawmakers have until the end of April to finalize a budget.