DeLaney brings budget amendments to raise teacher pay

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INDIANAPOLIS – The House Ways and Means Committee met on Thursday to hear amendments to the biennial state budget. State Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) introduced two amendments to advance the cause of teacher pay, a top priority for the House Democratic Caucus. The Republican majority rejected both ideas but made no suggestions on how to raise teacher pay.

Since 2002, Indiana teachers have seen the slowest salary growth in the country and rank last for average teacher pay among all bordering states, and 38th in the country.

DeLaney's first amendment (Amendment 5) would create a grant program for teacher salaries that will be accessible by school corporations that set a minimum salary of $40,000 for each full-time licensed teacher. The grants will be spent towards increasing classroom teacher compensation.

The second proposal (Amendment 6) would create a matching grant for school corporations dispensing bonuses to teachers rated as 'effective' or 'highly effective' who served with the corporation for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school term. The bonuses each teacher would receive would correlate to the length of time they have worked as a teacher, with higher bonuses going to those teachers most recently entered into the field to encourage retention.

“For years now, we've heard the same story,” DeLaney said. “Everyone in the Assembly seems to agree that our teachers need to be paid more. But when the time comes to actually raise the money, we're told again and again that we need to wait.

“Last year we had a commission report dedicated to solving this problem. Yet we come again, here in February, looking at yet another budget without funds for raising teacher pay. Over the course of the pandemic, Indiana teachers have adapted to unprecedented challenges and proven their value more than ever. Letting their pay fall so far behind their peers in neighboring states was a grievous mistake, but further delay would be unconscionable.

“Every day, teachers across Indiana fight for our students. It is time we fight for them.”

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