INDIANAPOLIS—On Monday, State Senator Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) offered two amendments to House Bill 1001 in an effort to amend important language into the budget.

His first amendment would have transferred funds from the state’s general fund to the School City of East Chicago’s School Disaster Loan Fund to pay off the remainder of the $3M loan that was taken out by the school corporation several years ago to relocate the Carrie Gosch school after dangerous levels of lead were found in and around the building.

“The $3M loan that East Chicago owes only came about because of the need to relocate Carrie Gosch to ensure the safety of our students, teachers and communities. They shouldn’t be punished and forced to pay off a loan, which they will never be able to fully pay back, for a situation that was out of their control,” Sen. Randolph said.

“The General Assembly has already demonstrated its ability to forgive the loan amount that East Chicago owes—just look at the over $90 million in charter school loans that have been forgiven. There’s no reason our legislature can’t do the same for East Chicago who only racked up the loan that they are currently struggling to pay back because of the need to protect the student body from exposure to dangerous amounts of lead. The only thing that’s preventing this loan from being waived is the will of the Republican supermajority who continue to punish the city of East Chicago for circumstances outside their control.”

His second amendment would have increased the income tax credit that teachers could receive for purchasing classroom supplies from $100 to $500.

“Our Hoosier educators give so much to ensure our students have the support and tools they need to be successful. That’s why it’s always my goal to advocate for our teachers at the Statehouse,” Sen. Randolph said. “An increase in the tax credit that teachers who purchase their own supplies can receive is a small way to show a little appreciation for our educators who go the extra mile.

“This year has been especially taxing, and Hoosier teachers have gone above and beyond to educate and guide our students in engaging new ways amid this virus. The least we could have done is allow the educators who are spending their own money on classroom supplies to get more back in tax credits. The fact that this amendment was voted down after the year we just had—during a legislative session where teachers are still not being granted a pay increase—is disappointing to say the least.”

Both of Sen. Randolph’s amendments were voted down.