Local educators react to Indiana Governor’s teacher pay proposal

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In his State of the State Address to the General Assembly, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb says the State of Indiana has never been stronger. (Photo courtesy in.gov)

EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) — During the State of the State, Indiana’s governor proposed setting aside money for teachers’ pay and the House passed a surplus spending bill.

Teachers have long been demanding more pay in Indiana, rallying at the state house this past November.

This week, Governor Eric Holcomb proposed a plan but it’s road to passage is long.

Here are the numbers.

In 2018, the starting salary for a teacher in Indiana is around $35, 943, according to the National Education Association.

“As far as salaries, we’re below all the states around us,” said Evansville Teachers Association President Michael Rust.

One state away in Illinois,that number jumps to around $39,000.

In Kentucky it is more than $36,000 and Governor Andy Beshear called for a two-thousand dollar pay raise for teachers this week.

In Indiana, Governor Holcomb proposed 250 million from the state’s surplus towards teacher retirement funds.

He says that would generate up to $50 million towards teacher pay.

‘Together, that’s 115 million more available annually to increase teacher pay.”

But here at home, the president of the Evansville teacher association says that is not enough.

“Our kids are going to suffer. Our teachers are going to suffer. If we don’t get an increase this year and additional funding next year. And we’re not talking 50 million dollars. We talking 600 million dollars.”

This week, the House also passed a surplus spending bill.

That bill allocates $291 million dollars in revenue from the state surplus toward six state college capital projects.

The bill gives USI $48 million for a Health Professions classroom renovation.

The governor’s proposed surplus allocation would be part of the next budget in 2021, frustrating democrats.

“Pay me now. Let’s get the money on the table,” said State Senator Tim Lanane. “We can do it. This is all just a delay.”

The Governor also spoke about eliminating unfunded mandates and unnecessary paperwork.

He also said every school will have a relationship with a mental health provider.

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