Porter: We’ve done the bare minimum for teachers and students so far this session

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis) today commented that the Indiana General Assembly should do more than pass Senate Bill 2 to support Hoosier educators during the 2020 legislative session. Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 1001 represent the second time in 4 years that the General Assembly has had to pass “hold harmless” legislation to protect teachers after widespread standardized testing issues. 

“While I’m glad we will hold schools harmless from ILEARN test scores for this year and next year, I would like to remind folks that we have to do this because of the climate Republicans created for standardized testing in our state,” said Porter. “In fact, all of the education priority bills: Senate Bill 2, House Bill 1001 and House Bill 1002 are not victories, they are bills that would correct a decade of bad education policy that was signed into law by Republicans.

“The state legislature needs to start listening to our educators when they tell us that they know what will work in their classrooms for their students, and we need to start putting teachers, students and schools first.”

Despite rectifying previous education policy mistakes in HB 1001 and SB 2, House Republicans continue to prevent efforts to ensure that Hoosier educators receive the pay increase that they deserve this year.

“I attempted to offer a few proposals that would have taken the $291 million that the governor wanted to invest those dollars in teachers, students and schools,” Porter continued. “Unfortunately, the Republicans would rather pay cash for projects than invest those dollars in Hoosiers.”

Porter offered an amendment to House Bill 1007 that would have given teachers a one-time bonus in order to address the teacher pay issue now before a long-term funding solution is found in next year’s biannual budget.

In Amendment 14, Porter would have appropriated $186 million for a one-time bonus to teachers employed by public school corporations, including charter schools.

House Bill 1007, recently signed into law by the governor, allocates the $291 million to higher education building projects, allowing them to be paid out in cash instead of bonds. That means these projects will still be completed, but will continue to be paid for the way they always have, through the bonding process.

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