INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers will pass a two-year budget during the next legislative session and teacher salaries will be one of the big issues up for debate.
The Indiana State Teacher's Association is pushing for raises.
The average teacher salary is currently around $45,000 a year and Indiana ranks towards the bottom in the nation for teacher retention rates.
Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teacher's Association, says many teachers leave their districts, the state and even the profession because of the pay.
"This is a pretty big problem. We have teachers who haven’t had meaningful pay increases for as much as 10 years. So, we know it’s a problem that’s developed over time. We don’t expect them to fix it overnight, but we sincerely need them to make a sincere effort in this biennium," Meredith said. "We can find teachers, we can find individuals to come to teaching, but if you can't get them to stay - that's the challenge. That's the frustrating part."
The association's call comes after Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has pushed for an increase in K-12 funding, but wanted the legislature to study the long-term funding issue in the 2019 session. There would be a plan to make larger increases in the 2021 legislative session.
"We are losing teachers from district to district because they want to teach in a particular area and they realize it’s not funded adequately from year to year, so they look for a district that has a little more money. They might move there for a period of time, and then around year five, they look elsewhere, they go to a different state, different district or they just leave the professional altogether," Meredith said.
The legislative session starts January 3.
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