FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- One of the major topics of debate during the Indiana General Assembly’s 2023 legislative session was education, including teacher raises. The 1.5 billion dollar plan will work to achieve a statewide average teacher salary, and it allows school choice vouchers to expand significantly.

WANE 15 spoke with Northwest Allen County School District about how this would effect them. Overall, Superintendent Wayne Barker is pleased with the plan and believes NACS is in a much better place because of it.

However, Wednesday night NACS saw the budget numbers come out and they were much worse than what they expected. For the first year, 3.9% was projected and 1.7% for the second. Superintendent Barker says he stayed in contact with State Senators to see if the district could receive a better outcome. NACS ended up with a budget of 6% for the first year and 1.9% for the second.

Superintendent Barker says teachers feel more heard after the budget plan decision.

“Our teachers understand, and they, they appreciated the work that people were doing to advocate for them, and then they appreciated our state legislators responding favorably to those requests,” said Barker. “I think our teachers are are happy today, the ones I’ve talked to certainly are and I think they feel more supported and appreciated,” Barker said.

Superintendent Barker is not pleased with the outcome of the voucher program. He says it ended up negatively impacting K-12 traditional public schools, and that is was “disheartening to see.”

Wane 15 reached out to Fort Wayne Community Schools and they sent this statement.

We appreciate the General Assembly’s support of K-12 students.  With the revised budget, we hope to increase our teacher salaries.  Increased funding also supports special education and ELL students. Finally, continued support of career and technical education funding will enable us to continue to grow our career pathways and credentialing programs. 

Kathy Friend, FWCS Chief Financial Officer

WANE 15 reached out to Southwest Allen County School District and East Allen County School District for a comment, WANE 15 has not received a response.