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Indiana lawmakers kill idea to start teachers at $40K a year. Here’s what schools pay now.

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During a legislative session in which teacher pay looms large, lawmakers recently shot down a proposal to raise the starting salary for Indiana teachers to $40,000.

One of the arguments cited in voting down the idea Thursday in the state House of Representatives was that most of Indiana's public schools were already reaching that minimum threshold.

An IndyStar analysis found otherwise.

The IndyStar looked at the collective bargaining agreements made between teachers and Indiana’s 287 school districts and found that only 30 of them had a minimum salary of $40,000 or higher for their teachers. The vast majority of public schools and districts aren't there yet. All but one of those 30 were classified as an urban or suburban district.

Starting pay at small and rural districts tends to be even lower.

Last school year, the lowest-paid teachers in the state were making $30,000 a year, according to collective bargaining agreements.

In 82 districts the lowest-paid full-time teacher was making less than $35,000 a year.

Another 110 districts had minimum teacher salaries between $35,000 and $37,000.


Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, argued that although the state wants to encourage school districts to spend more on their teachers, it shouldn't go so far as to set a base salary.

"Those decisions are not made best in Indianapolis, doggone it," he said. "They're made best in the local communities across the state who understand what their needs are." 


The governor is establishing a commission to study the issue of teacher pay, with recommendations for action in the next budget cycle, two years from now. But educators say the issue is too pressing to wait.

The Indiana State Teachers Association said its member are looking for some action from lawmakers this year. They have a weekend rally in Indianapolis planned next month. Teresa Meredith, ISTA president, said recently that teachers are watching what lawmakers do this session before deciding on more aggressive action.

Is a strike coming if the ISTA doesn't get it's way?


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1 hour ago, Muda69 said:

I thought AZ pay was bad, Indiana pay is atrocious. My starting salary at The School That Tennis Built was $45k, and that was low compared to what my coworkers were making.

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26 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

I thought AZ pay was bad, Indiana pay is atrocious. My starting salary at The School That Tennis Built was $45k, and that was low compared to what my coworkers were making.



The cost of living is 5.27% higher in Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale AZ Metro.


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A Holcomb-appointed Indiana teacher pay panel lacks teachers, though one will advise it.: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/12/teacher-pay-heres-who-guide-indianas-effort-raise-salaries/2846729002/


A panel tasked with finding solutions to Indiana's teacher pay problem will not have any teachers on it.

The lone teacher selected for involvement in Gov. Eric Holcomb's Next Level Teacher Pay Commission has been relegated to an advisory council, which will provide "further knowledge and expertise" to the nonbinding recommendation panel.

Charged with making recommendations for strategies to increase teacher pay for the next budget session in two years, the panel will instead be made up of four business executives, a philanthropist, nonprofit officer and a representative from Ivy Tech Community College. 

The commission members are:

  • Chairman Michael L. Smith (Indianapolis), former chairman, president and CEO of Mayflower Group and former executive vice president and CFO of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • Jená Bellezza (Gary), COO of Indiana Parenting Institute

  • Tom Easterday (Zionsville), former senior executive vice president, secretary and chief legal officer for Subaru of Indiana Automotive

  • Marianne Glick (Indianapolis), chair of the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Family Foundation and board member of the Gene B. Glick Company

  • Bob Jones (Evansville), chairman and CEO of Old National Bancorp

  • Katie Jenner (Madison), vice president of K-12 initiatives and statewide partnerships at Ivy Tech

  • Nancy Jordan (Fort Wayne), senior vice president of Lincoln Financial Group


Holcomb announced the creation of the group — and his choice of Indianapolis businessman Michael Smith to lead it — in his State of the State address last month.

Representation from public K-12 schools will be limited to the six-person advisory council, drawing criticism before the panel's work even begins.

"I am constantly amazed at the fact we keep talking about education and leaving educators out of the process," said Rep. Tonya Pfaff, D-Terre Haute. Pfaff is a freshman lawmaker, taking a leave of absence from her classroom at Terre Haute North Vigo High School. A 25-year teaching veteran, she'll return to her school when the legislative session wraps up in April.

"I think it's a slap in the face to my profession," she said, "not to include us in the decision-making process that directly affects my profession."

During the monthslong debate over teacher pay, Holcomb's position has been that the state should take its time, look for creative solutions and make meaningful investments to move Indiana forward. That, the governor's office said, is why he is seeking out business leaders and others outside of the teaching profession to lead the work.

"The governor asked a group of proven state leaders to lead an effort to determine what constitutes competitive teacher compensation in Indiana and how to achieve it," said Rachel Hoffmeyer, spokesperson for the governor's office. "The members were selected for their leadership, love of state and open-minded attitude about K-12 education."

Hoffmeyer said the advisory council will work "hand in glove with the commission" and participate in commission meetings. 

The advisory council members are:

  • Melissa Ambre (Noblesville), director of the Office of School Finance for the Indiana Department of Education

  • Lee Ann Kwiatkowski (Greenwood), senior education adviser to Gov. Holcomb

  • Emily Holt (Arcadia), math teacher at Westfield High School

  • Dan Holub (Indianapolis), executive director of the Indiana State Teachers Association

  • Denise Seger (Granger), chief human resource officer for Concord Community Schools in Elkhart

  • David Smith (Evansville), superintendent of Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the Indiana State Teachers Association said it's disappointed there are no teachers on the commission but will work with the group through the advisory council. 


In the short term, Holcomb is recommending several things to start addressing teacher pay, while the commission gets to work on the larger issues. The governor is asking lawmakers to pay off part of school pension debts to save districts an estimated $70 million a year. He's encouraging schools to put those savings toward higher salaries. 

Holcomb is also asking for a 2 percent increase in the state’s $7 billion K-12 education budget, which makes up a little more than half of state spending.

Should educational professionals in Indiana be outraged by the makeup of this commission?  What do guys from banks and car makers know about education?

And I wonder if the framers of the Indiana State Constitution envisioned the state government becoming a de-facto education company, as the outrageous amount of spending toward government schools proves?


  • Kill me now 1

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