Many schools across the state have already entered their 2019-2020 school year, making this the first school year under Indiana’s new biennial state budget.
In the budget, we increased K-12 support by $763 million, which includes an additional $539 million in tuition support, as well as increased funding for special needs education initiatives and Teacher Appreciation Grants.
Lawmakers also worked hard during the 2019 legislative session to create measures that enhance school bus safety, expand workforce development opportunities and strengthen Hoosier students’ civics knowledge.
In response to a devastating school bus accident last year, in which three Fulton County children lost their lives, schools are now required to minimize bus stops that make children cross highways in high-speed areas. This constraint will improve safety conditions for our young ones when they travel to and from school.
To help fill in-demand career opportunities in Indiana, high schools can now replace standard high school courses with career and technical education and work-based courses, programs or experiences of similar subject matter and equal or greater rigor. This alternative will enable more students to graduate with real-world work experience and help them have higher success rates when entering the workforce.
In an effort to help increase students’ basic knowledge on our country and its history, I authored a bill that requires public schools to administer the U.S. citizenship test as part of the required high school curriculum. While students are not required to pass the test, it’s my hope this exam will help them learn and retain this fundamental information.
I believe parents and guardians of school-age children should be made aware of these new measures as they send their students back to school. It’s important the young people in Indiana are not only protected, but given a good education that sets them up for success. These new laws will assist in achieving this – strengthening the future of our state.