Zach is a Legislative Affairs Director for ExcelinEd in Action. In this role, he works with leaders and lawmakers from the midwestern states to promote student-centered solutions.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recently unveiled his 2021 budget and legislative agenda to continue taking the state to the “Next Level” despite the added challenges of the pandemic. Thanks to nine consecutive years of passing a balanced budget and a healthy reserve fund, Indiana is in a strong fiscal position to not only avoid budget cuts, but also increase funding for education.
Governor Holcomb remains committed to ensuring that K-12 schools receive 100 percent of their funding for the second half of the school year. He will also work to increase K-12 funding in the next biennial budget and at a minimum restore higher education funding cut in the last fiscal year due to the impact of the pandemic.
“I’m passionate about putting Indiana’s first Secretary of Education, Dr. Katie Jenner, on the road to success by moving the focus on ‘compliance’ to the focus on ‘outcomes’ with an emphasis on lifelong learning opportunities.
Dr. Jenner will be evaluating ways to expand early learning, and ways to improve on the accountability and transparency fronts, we’ll examine virtual learning, especially with all of the adjustments that COVID has forced.”
Governor Eric Holcomb
Governor Holcomb and Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch are also committed to investing in broadband infrastructure over the next four years. So far, the Next Level Connections program has awarded nearly $80 million to connect more than 21,000 locations – including homes, schools, businesses, farms and other key community locations – to the internet. Their next priority is to raise the minimum speed to at least the federal standard to provide more Hoosier families access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet. This is an excellent first step towards ensuring students, families and educators receive equitable access to participate in a meaningful digital learning experience.
Prioritizing education funding will create a brighter future for the next generation, as well as provide Indiana businesses with a skilled workforce. I applaud Governor Holcomb’s leadership making our state a wonderful place to work, learn and live.
A new web-based assessment tool, FundingEducationEquity.org, helps state decision makers to carefully evaluate their budget-cutting options, minimize harm to students and maximize the ability of districts to make the best use of available resources.