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Lawmakers want to move leftover funds from one scholarship to the Transition to Teaching program

A woman walks down a school hallway with two young children who are wearing backpacks.
FILE PHOTO: Jeanie Lindsay
/
IPB News
Senate Bill 1042 would use leftover Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship funds to award more Transition to Teaching scholarships.

A Senate committee passed a bill this week that would fund additional scholarships for school employees with non-teaching degrees. Lawmakers hope the expansion will encourage more people to transition to teaching from other careers.

Rep. Dave Heine (R-New Haven), the author of House Bill 1042, said the new Transition to Teaching program was very popular after it passed into law last year.

The program provides scholarships of up to $10,000 to school employees who have bachelor’s degrees in other fields. Through the program, they can become teachers without earning an additional degree.

Lawmakers passed last year’s bill to help ease Indiana’s teacher shortage. As of Friday, there were more than1,300 job openings for teaching positions posted on Indiana's portal.

There were 100 scholarships available this past fall. Heine said the online application was removed 15 minutes after it launched because about 300 people applied.

“That was the genesis for this bill that you have in front of you today,” he said.

The bill would use money leftover from a separate education scholarship fund, the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship, to pay for additional Transition to Teaching scholarships.

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

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Heine said fiscal experts expect those leftover funds to be more than $3 million. That money could fund about 300 additional applicants to Transition to Teaching scholarships.

A representative from the Indiana State Teachers Association said the organization supports the bill. Heine said school officials he’s spoken to are also supportive.

“I’ve talked to superintendents across the state that really think this is exciting because they’re going to have another opportunity to hire teachers,” he said.

The bill is now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

Kirsten is our education reporter. Contact her at kadair@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.

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Kirsten the Indiana Public Broadcasting education reporter. Contact her at kadair@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.