Rep. Vernon G. Smith: State budget lacks substantive solutions to education inadequacies
INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) released the following statement on the state budget proposal:
“Although I am happy to see a $1.9 billion investment in Indiana schools, I am concerned struggling districts like Gary Community School Corporation are still not receiving adequate funding,” Smith said. “While many schools across the state are receiving an increase in funding, Gary's schools are receiving 3.6 percent less funding over the next two years. That will do nothing to protect our schools from falling behind even further and it sends the wrong message. We need more help - not less.
“I'm also little disappointed that with this new budget, teachers can finally receive the pay they deserve, but only if their district takes action. Of Indiana's school districts, 220 have a minimum pay below $40,000. We need more stringent guidelines to raise teachers’ salaries and ensure that schools do not delay. Otherwise, this money may never make it into teachers’ pockets.
“Charter schools and vouchers are the clear winners of this budget. The state is pushing millions of dollars into private education institutions that lack accountability and stability for students. The focus of our state dollars should be on our struggling public schools that continue to bear the worst of the pandemic.
“The problems facing our state’s education system and our teachers require precise, targeted solutions. I do not see those solutions in this state budget.”