Governor Eric Holcomb’s education pillar struggling in state senate


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Despite Republican control in the state senate, Governor Eric Holcomb’s education pillar is struggling to get through the state senate.

For his first year, Governor Holcomb named education one of his five pillars. His goal is to create an appointed school superintendent position, and to double the state’s pre-K program. But this week, the state senate had other plans.

“Sometimes you need to remind everybody, one it was an issue for our governor,” State Sen. Pro Tem David Long said. “Two, if people were on the fence either way that should tip you in that direction. And three, we want to stick together and move an agenda.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee only allocated $13 million for pre-K, instead of $20 million. As for the appointed superintendent position, it was rejected by the state senate Monday.

The issue, State Senate Pro Tem Long said, the author didn’t take a head count, and assumed the votes were there. “That mistake won’t be made again on any issue this session, trust me,” State Sen. Pro Tem Long said.

Although it failed, State Senate Pro Tem Long said it’s not dead. The bill could be amended, and brought back for another vote.

It would require it to be radically changed. One way State Sen. Pro Tem Long said, instead of having the governor appoint the position in 2021, it might become 2025.

“I think the date in and of itself does that, along with some other likely changes,” State Sen. Pro Tem Long said. “And that’s a big if, as I said, we have to decide as a group whether we’re going to hear it, and we’ll decide that as a caucus.”

With key pieces of his education pillar stumbling, 24-Hour News 8 asked the pro tem if Governor Holcomb needs to take a more hands on approach over the final session weeks.

“No, I think he’s doing this correctly,” State Sen. Pro Tem Long said. “I think he’s on record. I’m sure he felt, as I did, that the superintendent bill would pass.”

As for pre-K funding, it’s not a lost cause. Governor Holcomb’s office said the House has a bill that would double the funds. He’s encouraged to see both sides addressing the matter this session.

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