Legislators Have a Tall Task Balancing Funding, Education Proposals in 2015

Dec 31, 2014

Indiana Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana GOP

Education promises to be a big topic during the upcoming legislative session. Both Governor Pence and House Republicans have outlined major school initiatives they’d like to see come to fruition next year. But what the state can afford remains to be seen.

Legislative leaders have pledged to balance the budget this session without raising taxes. That could prove challenging, since several state agencies have submitted requests that would require extra money.

Governor Pence laid out a lengthy agenda for the 2015 legislative session that includes, among other things, increasing teacher pay and investing in career and technical education.

House Republicans have echoed the governor’s call for changes to school funding, specifically increasing base funding and adjusting the formula to address disparities in per-pupil funding.

A revenue forecast released last week shows a promising fiscal picture for Indiana in the next budget cycle.

Nevertheless, Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley says the proposals are costly and will have to be prioritized.

“I don’t think that this revenue forecast will sustain all of those initiatives at the levels that they may be requesting,” Kenley said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us in this next budget session.”

Kenley says school funding will be a high priority.

The 2015 legislative session begins January 6.