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1/17/2019 4:43:00 PM
Indiana Rep. Ryan Hatfield thinks teachers should make at least $50,000 annually

Noah Stubbs, Evansville Courier & Press

INDIANAPOLIS — State Rep. Ryan Hatfield, D-Evansville, was recently appointed to serve as Assistant House Democratic Floor Leader for the 2019-2020 Indiana General Assembly session.

The Southwest Indiana legislator said he's using his new, fancy-sounding leadership position at the Statehouse to try to push through a bill that would give new Indiana teachers a salary bump.

Hatfield filed House Bill 1611, which would raise the minimum salary for full-time teachers to $50,000, according to a news release from his office.

The average starting salary for an Indiana teacher was $35,241 for the 2016-2017 school year, according to the National Education Association.

"It is no secret that Indiana teachers are either leaving the occupation or the state because they are not paid enough," Hatfield said. "We need good teachers in Indiana to improve our schools and prepare our students. To have good teachers, we need to pay them the wage they deserve." 

Gov. Eric Holcomb, in Tuesday night's State of the State speech, introduced a proposal to start addressing teacher pay.

Holcomb is asking lawmakers to appropriate $150 million from the more than $2 billion in state reserves to pay off a pension liability that local schools pay. The one-time investment would save schools $140 million over the next two years, with additional savings realized down the line.

The governor is hoping schools will put some of that savings toward raising teacher pay. The amount will vary from school to school, with larger districts realizing larger savings.

"One way to attract and retain more teachers is to make teacher pay more competitive," he said.

If the entirety of the $140 million savings was spent on teacher pay and spread equally across every teacher in the state, it would work out to a raise of a little more than $1,000 a year.

A recent survey of Indiana's school superintendents by Indiana State University found 91 percent reported a teacher shortage. Low pay is seen as a contributing factor. 

Related Stories:
• Gov. Holcomb announces plan to pay off pension liability, free up money for teacher raises
• Higher teacher pay in House GOP vision for legislative session
• Teacher pay hike only shared priority for House Republicans and Indiana Black Legislative Caucus
• Indiana legislative session begins with bipartisanship - but it might not last long
• Teacher salaries at forefront as 2019 Indiana General Assembly opens
• EDITORIAL: Holcomb leads on teacher pay, bias-crime law
• In Indiana, teacher pay is complex and inconsistent
• Lawmakers want to pay Indiana teachers more, but struggle over how to do it
• EDITORIAL: State must reward teachers without hurting support staff
• Holcomb talks of need for teacher raises; names compensation commission

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