Teacher Pay Debate Is About More Than Money

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Teacher Pay Debate Is About More Than Money

ISTA: Salary grid, school funding formula need to be addressed

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Giving teachers a raise will be about more than setting aside more money.

Indiana State Teachers Association president Keith Gambill says the state's actually made progress on teachers' starting salaries. But he says the way the rules are written, a teacher who wants a raise may have to move to another school district. In some cases, he says, a teacher could make more money by resigning and immediately rejoining the same school.

And Gambill says legislators should rewrite the school funding formula to loosen the strict link between enrollment and funding. He says even districts which are losing enrollment have fixed costs for items like utilities and maintenance in the school buildings.

House Education Chairman Bob Behning says the funding formula is too complex to address in the upcoming 10-week short session\. He says it's better suited for the four-month budget session in 2021. By that time, a commission Governor Holcomb appointed to study teacher pay will have delivered its recommendations.

But Behning notes legislators took some steps in this year's session, including the creation of "career ladders" to give teachers the opportunity to take on new responsibilities for more money without leaving their school district. And he says legislators hope to address health costs in 2020. He says that's a significant factor in teachers' take-home pay.

(Photo: B. Fanton/Getty Images)

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