Updated: Tuesday, 19 Jan 2010, 6:19 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 19 Jan 2010, 12:02 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - School systems across Indiana are scrambling to cut budgets to the bone without cutting classroom teachers and programs.
Tuesday, a group that represents some 45,000 teachers in Indiana pitched its own plan, but it's not getting an "A" from everyone.
Nate Schnellenberger, President of the Indiana State Teachers Association said, "I think it's pretty evident to every citizen in Indiana what a rainy day fund is. It's to be used when times are tough and I think we're in some of the toughest times in Indiana's history."
So in its five strategy plan unveiled Tuesday, the Indiana State Teachers Association wants school corporations that have extra money in the general fund and rainy day funds to use it now.
ISTA also wants the state to halt spending on private school tax credits and testing not mandated by the federal government.
ISTA believes there is more than $575 million of savings in its plan.
Cam Savage of the Indiana Department of Education reacted to the ISTA plan saying, "This is really a step in the same vein of what we've been working on here at the state."
But Savage said there's one big problem with the ISTA proposal.
"You know frankly some of their ideas would be a little easier to swallow if they didn't call for an end to testing and accountability. We frankly can't do that," he said.
Mary Louise Bewley a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Public School system said, "I think it's fair to say the answers for every school district are really going to have to be local."
She said ultimately each individual school district will have to craft its own plan, which she says IPS is working on now.
"We are looking at having to cut some staff. But we are looking to cut staff from as far away from the classroom as possible. So here in central office and some of the support areas," she said.
IPS expects its plan to take shape in the spring.
Bewley said IPS won't totally do away with art and music otherwise everything else is on the table.
Part of ISTA'S plan requires legislative action. Look for that legislation to be introduced in the Indiana House later this week.