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Porter decries state budget that forsakes Hoosier students

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Rep. Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis), ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, delivered remarks today in opposition to House Republicans' state biennial budget. Porter's opposition to the budget was rooted in its abandonment of most Hoosier students. He released the following statement upon the bill's passage:

“This budget does not take inflation into account whatsoever when it comes to adequately funding our traditional K-12 public schools,” Porter said. “While Republicans have celebrated the budget's education funding, it does a disservice to the nearly 90% of Hoosier students who attend our public institutions. A lion's share of new education funding in this budget goes toward the voucher program, whose benefiting institutions do not have to accept all students who try to enter through their doors.

“Even more egregious is the mechanism used to fund free textbooks. It would require that the funding for free textbooks come out of each school's budget, rather than the state paying for it, and adds the textbook cost for free and reduced lunches (previously covered by the state) to each school's responsibilities. This creates the illusion of doing a service for our kids and parents while hamstringing schools in other areas where they need to spend that precious funding, like special education.

“Finally, the complexity index funding for schools that serve low-income and dual-language populations has been scrambled. While there's more complexity funding available, less students in some schools, like IPS, are eligible for less complexity funding. It's our duty to use our state education system to lift students out of poverty and empower them to achieve their American Dream – but this makes it even harder for our schools to make good on that promise.

“This budget is shameful and unreasonable, and I voted against it for the good of all Hoosier kids. Republicans called it an opportunity. I say it's a missed opportunity.”

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