To the editor:
The 2017 legislative session moved the state forward in a big way.
Everyone wins with the $1.2 billion long-term road funding plan. The Indiana Chamber made this issue its No. 1 priority because transportation infrastructure is so vital to attracting jobs and growing our economy. The payoff is improved travels, with delays and vehicle repairs related to our crumbling roads soon in the rearview mirror.
In this tight budget year, the state’s pre-K pilot program still received more than double its original funding and outreach to students. Now, $22 million annually will help the most at-risk youngsters in up to 20 counties get off to a good start with their education.
The Indiana Chamber has long pushed for making the superintendent of public instruction an appointed position, as are all other agency heads. What we don’t agree with is waiting eight years to make it happen and making a teacher’s license mandatory. It should be the best person for the job. Nevertheless, this is a very positive move for making sustained education progress is the state.
The multi-year ISTEP debate is in the books. The new ILEARN will be a shorter test for grades 3 to 8 and appropriately based on Indiana standards. Getting results back faster is a key emphasis. Preserving accountability was a battle, but teacher evaluation and school A-F grades remain tied to test scores –- as it should be.
More money -– to the tune of $250 million –- is available for promising, innovative Hoosier companies via the Next Level Trust Fund. Another big boost is the $5 million to encourage more direct flights from Indiana airports to international and domestic destinations.
Meanwhile, the open data bill assures the state’s Management Performance Hub has maximum utility for policymakers and economic development.
All are such important steps for Indiana.
president and CEO,
Indiana Chamber of Commerce