Capitol News


Pence's challenge: Paying for education proposals

Gov. Mike Pence talks with high school students at Indiana's old statehouse after speaking about education in Indiana's first capital of Corydon. (Scott Elliott) Gov. Mike Pence knows that some of his 2014 education proposals for the Indiana legislature could be costly. He's hoping for some creative thinking from lawmakers to make them work, but it's unclear how much cooperation he will get. He's also rooting for an improved economy, just one day after ordering the sale of the state plane and higher education cuts to counter a $141 million drop in tax collections. "We are going to continue to see this economy grow," he said Tuesday in an interview with reporters following an afternoon speech. "We're going to have additional resources as a state to focus on our priorities." Speaking at the old statehouse in Corydon, the state's first capital, Pence expanded on his education agenda, noting that Hoosier lawmakers made Indiana the first state to guarantee a free public education when its 1816 constitution was forged there. "I think time has come for us to focus on the supply side of education," Pence said, "promoting new innovation, new learning methods and new technology to improve student outcomes." Pence has proposed a handful of new programs aimed at instituting state aid for preschool, supporting charter schools, boosting vocational education and creating opportunities for teachers to try new approaches. But the potential price tag of his education ideas have raised some eyebrows with the legislature poised to open 2014's "short session," a scaled back lawmaking effort held between biennial budget-making odd years.