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New state incentives to keep quality students lack funding

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A plan to keep top-performing students home in Indiana after they graduate from college passed the General Assembly unanimously earlier this year, but it could face trouble as lawmakers decide how to fund it.

“I think everyone agrees with the concept,” said Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis, “but it will be difficult to find funding for this. We’ll just have to try to convince people that this is a worthwhile cause.”

Moed pushed provisions in Senate Bill 330 – authored by three Republican senators – aimed at attracting top-performing students to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics by providing student-loan reimbursements up to $9,000.

The bill, signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence in March, will have to go through the appropriations process next year to find the funding, which was not specified in this year’s legislation.

Moed said that it will be a few years “before checks will be written.” And the first payout would not be for eight years. That means the first students eligible to receive the reimbursement would be high school seniors this fall.

“The intent was we wanted to try and figure out ways to incentivize top performing students to go into the field of teaching,” Moed said. “The pay level currently for teachers and some of the issues going in education, it’s not always seen as a profession that students with high achievements in high school and college may look at.”

To qualify for the reimbursement a student must have been in the top 20 percent of the their high school graduating class or in the top 20th percentile of the ACT and SAT examination, graduated from college with a 3.5 or higher grade point average, and be teaching a STEM subject, special education, or in a critical shortage geographic area – for at least three years.

“We felt like those were high benchmarks, but not too high that nobody would qualify,” Moed said.

Moed said he is willing to have the program start as a pilot. He said 25 to 75 teachers would be a success, especially since there are only so many job openings in the education field each year.

“There are a lot of studies that show that high performing students that go into teaching are highly successful,” Moed said. “I think that education is such an important part of growth for our state.”

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  1. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  2. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

  3. Good try, Mr. Irwin, but I think we all know the primary motivation for pursuing legal action against the BMV is the HUGE FEES you and your firm expect to receive from the same people you claim to be helping ~ taxpayers! Almost all class action lawsuits end up with the victim receiving a pittance and the lawyers receiving a windfall.

  4. Fix the home life. We're not paying for your child to color, learn letters, numbers and possible self control. YOU raise your children...figure it out! We did. Then they'll do fine in elementary school. Weed out the idiots in public schools, send them well behaved kids (no one expects perfection) and watch what happens! Oh, and pray. A mom.

  5. To clarify, the system Cincinnati building is just a streetcar line which is the cheapest option for rail when you consider light rail (Denver, Portland, and Seattle.) The system (streetcar) that Cincy is building is for a downtown, not a city wide thing. With that said, I think the bus plan make sense and something I shouted to the rooftops about. Most cities with low density and low finances will opt for BRT as it makes more financial and logistical sense. If that route grows and finances are in place, then converting the line to a light rail system is easy as you already have the protected lanes in place. I do think however that Indy should build a streetcar system to connect different areas of downtown. This is the same thing that Tucson, Cincy, Kenosha WI, Portland, and Seattle have done. This allows for easy connections to downtown POI, and allows for more dense growth. Connecting the stadiums to the zoo, convention center, future transit center, and the mall would be one streetcar line that makes sense.

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