INDIANAPOLIS — State lawmakers gave final approval on a $37 billion dollar state budget Thursday as they wrapped up this year's session.
The two-year plan includes money for grant programs and construction projects funded through $3 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money.
But the big focus is on education funding.
Schools are getting a 4.5 percent increase each of the next two years.
It includes raises for teachers, starting them at a minimum of $40,000 a year and raising the average teacher pay to about $60,000.
At the same time, the plan expands the state's private school voucher program, a move some educators aren't thrilled about.
Currently, a family of four making up to $90,000 a year can get a voucher, but under the new plan, families earning up to $145,000 annually would qualify later this year.
Critics say it takes away money from public schools and helps families who can already afford to send their kids to a private school.
"I know the argument is that the money should follow the student, but there's a lot of money following six percent of students who are actually in private school that, again, are not playing by the same rules that we in public schools have to play by," said Greenwood Middle School Assistant Principal Jennifer Brinker.