INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction on Wednesday made it clear how she feels about Governor Eric Holcomb’s proposal for teacher pay raises in 2021.
“Last night’s State of the State was disappointing,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick. “There were parts of it that highlighted the great things going on in the state, but teacher compensation is not one of them.”
Tuesday night Gov. Holcomb told the state he recommends that state lawmakers, in 2021, use $250 million from the budget surplus and put that toward teacher retirement funds.
“In turn, $50 million a year will be generated to redirect to teacher pay. Together, that’s $115 million more available annually to increase teacher pay,” said Holcomb Tuesday evening while delivering his State of the State speech.
Statehouse Republican leaders support the idea.
“It’s made to next year’s general assembly. So it’ll be up to those who are elected in the next election to lead on that issue, but it’s good for the governor to I think get the idea out on the table,” said Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives Brian Bosma, (R-Indianapolis) Tuesday evening, after the governor’s speech.
McCormick, who’s also a Republican, doesn’t buy it.
“Promises are promises,” McCormick said. “I also know too, having been a local superintendent, everybody’s saying ‘we’ll give you money at the next budget, the next biennium,’ but if the revenue is down, will we see those new dollars? We need them now.”
Nationally, the average annual teacher salary is $60,477. In Indiana, it’s almost $10,000 less. That’s lower than any of Indiana’s neighboring states.
“I know we’re still losing teachers. It’s hard to attract teachers. I talk to districts, they lost some at Christmas. We’re getting ready to lose some at the end of the school year. A boost in pay would’ve certainly helped with that,” said McCormick.
Indiana’s average starting teacher salary is almost $36,000. Among the surrounding states, only Ohio’s is lower — by $20.
“We saw, we heard the 15,000+ teachers who came wearing red for education in November. We heard their concerns. We’re willing to address their concerns. We’re willing to do that this year,” said Indiana Senate Minority Leader Sen. Tim Lanane, (D-Anderson).
McCormick had a message for teachers Wednesday, saying, “I’m hoping they will stay in with us and just keep in for the good fight.”
Wednesday, the American Federation of Teachers’ Indiana chapter President GlenEva Dunham, sent News 8 the following statement:
“The amount offered by Governor Holcomb in his State of the State address is definitely not enough for teacher raises. There is too much surplus monies in the State of Indiana for the Governor to offer teachers such a small amount. The State of Indiana can do more for teachers and our students. I am not sure how the Governor can say our State is doing well, when Education in the State of Indiana ranks poorly in all areas of Education. Teachers want what Students need. The Governor needs to be committed to quality Education for ALL students in this state. The shortage of qualified teachers in the State of Indiana will continue to grow if Governor Holcomb doesn’t commit to Public School Teachers and our students. The Governor seems to find other things to do with taxpayer’s dollars other than investing in our children and funding our future. I am disappointed and I am sure all of the teachers in the State are disappointed as well. Educators will continue coming to the Statehouse, speaking with Legislators. The State of Indiana must do better.”