State Rep. Dave Wolkins conceded this week he was wrong when he said Warsaw Community Schools was moving $15 million from salaries to operational costs.
The District 18 state lawmaker from Warsaw made the suggestion a week ago in this column and reiterated it in a statement he issued.
He was reacting in response to comments from the president of Warsaw Community Education, Terry Sims, who (in an email to members of the association) said Wolkins was parroting Republican talking points about education spending.
The $15 million figure came from a legal advertisement, but school district superintendent Dr. David Hoffert said they never intended to shift that much.
Hoffert said about $7 million will likely move from educational to operations this year. Some of the money will go to pay for security, electricity, paraprofessionals and a variety of other different costs.
Wolkins met with Warsaw school officials Monday about the discrepancy. Afterward, he said his overall concern has not changed.
“The final transfer will actually be significantly less than $15 million, but that money is supposed to be used for salaries. While a $1,400 raise isn’t bad, I think the WCEA bargaining team got the short end of the stick as a lof of money was left on the table that could have been used for higher salaries,” Wolkins said in part of his statement.
Hoffert says they’ve mapped out a plan to bring starting teacher pay up to $40,000 by the 2021 school year. He also noted that while the base pay hike was $1,400, some educators got as much as $1,800.
Hoffert sounded eager to correct the record and move on and said they have another meeting lined up to talk with Wolkins.
“We have the utmost respect for Mr. Wolkins and the state legislature. It’s a very hard position, people are coming at you many different ways, asking for funds.”
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TOPS IN TWITTER – Who among Indiana’s Congressional delegation has the most Twitter followers? I was wondering that too. So I checked. Here is what I found:
INDIANA US REPS:
7th District Rep. Andre Carson, whose district includes Indianapolis, has 45,377 followers – @RepAndreCarson
5th District Rep. Susan Brooks, who is retiring, has 23,043 followers – @SusanWBrooks
8th District Rep. Larry Bucshon, whose district is in southwest Indiana, has 22,333 followers – @RepLarryBucshon
3rd District Rep. Jim Banks, whose district includes Fort Wayne, has 20,570 followers – @RepJimBanks
2nd District Rep. Jackie Walorski, whose district includes Elkhart and South Bend, has 18,724 followers – @RepWalorski
1st District Rep. Pete Visclosky, the longest-serving in the Indiana delegation, has 15,521 followers – @RepVisclosky
9th District Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, whose district is south of Indianapolis, has 9,320 followers – @RepTrey
6th District Rep. Greg Pence, the brother of Vice President Mike Pence whose district is in the southeast, has 7,703 followers – @RepGregPence
4th District Rep. Jim Baird, in his first term, has 3,118 followers – @RepJimBaird
Todd Young, in his first term, has 49,351 – @SenToddYoung
Mike Braun, in his first term, has 9,618 – @SenatorBraun
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BOARD APPOINTEE – As is expected, Gov. Eric Holcomb makes a lot of appointments. InkFreeNews occasionally gets emails from the governor’s office with long lists of appointments, but rarely are there any involving Kosciusko County residents. That was not the case early this week, though, when Holcomb’s office announced that former State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, of Syracuse, was among three people named to the Governor’s Commission on Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises.
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Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.