Listen Live

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Democrats are making one last pitch for teachers to get a pay raise directly from the state.

Republicans have been adamant they won’t give orders to local schools on how to spend their money. Their bill instructs schools to explain publicly if they put less than 85-percent of their budget in the classroom. Gary Senator Eddie Melton (D) argues that plan is inadequate because there’s no guarantee teachers would earn more — the bill sets nonbinding targets for how schools allocate their budgets:

Senate Democrats say legislators could free up $300 million for teachers by freezing proposed expansions of vouchers and charter schools, getting rid of a merit-pay fund, and putting less money per year into shoring up the Teachers’ Retirement Fund. Portage Democrat Karen Tallian argues the goal of backfilling an unfunded liability by 2038 is “too aggressive.” Since legislators passed the plan, she says, the state has cut its income tax rate, while the voucher program has added to the state’s spending commitments. She’s proposing to cut back contributions by $100 million a year, stretching out the target date by seven years.

The House could vote next week to accept changes made by the Senate.

Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)