For immediate release:
March 10, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS — State Rep. Terri J. Austin (D-Anderson) announced today that the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation designed to address Indiana’s teacher shortage.
House Bill 1002, authored by Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), creates an annual scholarship of $7,500 for selected students who plan to enter into teaching. Beginning in 2017 and each year thereafter, 200 Hoosier students will be awarded the scholarship to help defray their college expenses.
Students must graduate in the top 20 percent of their high school graduating class, commit in writing to enter the teaching profession in Indiana, teach for a minimum of five consecutive years in a public school or accredited non-public school, maintain a 3.0 minimum grade point average at their college or university, and maintain 15 credit hours each semester or its equivalent to keep their eligibility. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years.
The bill was first vetted in the House Education Committee, of which Austin is a member. The bill initially passed out of the House of Representatives by a vote of 96-1.
After facing changes in the Senate, House Bill 1002 moved to the conference committee as House and Senate members worked to develop the final version of the bill. Bill authors and sponsors have now reached a consensus, allowing the bill to move to the governor’s desk for his final approval.
“I am so pleased that the House and Senate were able to reach a consensus and am happy to voice my support of the bill,” said Austin. “This is a strong piece of legislation that takes significant steps in improving the attraction and retention of high-performing teachers in the state of Indiana. I am proud to have been a vital supporter of this legislation from the beginning.
“Ensuring that our youngest Hoosiers receive a quality education is of the utmost importance,” continued Austin. “This legislation will help us as we work to support Indiana’s future educators and ensure that we retain them following their graduation.
“This is an issue that was in desperate need of attention this session,” concluded Austin. “I look forward to seeing the impact it has on Indiana teachers and students in the future.”
Austin has been a powerful advocate for education during the 2016 session, voicing support for measures that would improve education in the state and encourage the growth of Indiana’s teachers.