EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — From the Tri-State, to Indianapolis, it was a sea of red as thousands of teachers from all across the state came together for the “Red for Ed Rally,” including many from the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation.
“The reason we chose the color red is because it stands for republicans, democrats and education for all and all students in public schools deserve to be educated with the proper tools,” said Jennifer Kempf, Special Education Itinerant Teacher.
Members of the Evansville Teachers Association say more than $17,000 educators from around the state converged in Indianapolis, some bringing their kids.
“We had I think 20 students from UE there and we just looked at each other and we just had tears in our eyes just because it’s such an exciting time to go into education because we are so strong and it’s just amazing to think that we’re not alone,” said University of Evansville Education Major Maddie Roche.
The movement calls for more financial support from the government.
“Teacher’s right now are 17% below, adjusting for inflation, where the salaries were 10 years ago and it’s absolutely atrocious,” Michael Rust, President of Evansville Teachers Association.
According to recent reports, the annual salary for a teacher in Indiana can fall anywhere between $30,000 to $90,000 dollars, with most falling toward the bottom of the scale.
“Right now we deal with a lot of teacher turnover and that’s primarily due to low pay so we need better funding for education and I think this is the way to make that happen,” said Soloman Boyce, Special Education Teacher.
Although the city was packed in red, some say the battle is far from over.
“I think we absolutely need to keep the pressure up both at the local level and the state level. It has to lead to a fully funded public education system and we won’t stop until we win,” said Rust.
If the state does increase the funding for the public school system, it would be up to each individual school board to decide how they spend the additional money in the budget.
(This story was originally published on November 19, 2019)