State Rep. Terry Goodin: “Here’s an idea…let’s just pay teachers more”

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Terry Goodin (D-Austin) today issued the following statement on the desire of Indiana lawmakers to increase teachers’ pay across the state:

“Everyone wants to see teachers in Indiana get paid more. They deserve it, and our children deserve the chance to learn from the best and brightest we can provide.

“But after two weeks of this year’s session, I am unsure whether we’re going to do anything.

“So far, we have seen the Republicans offer two proposals they say will help increase teacher pay. But there are strings attached…as there always are when it comes to the Republicans.

“The first is House Bill 1003, which is supposed to provide accountability and transparency in school accounting practices, which will lead to more funding for teacher pay…allegedly. In point of fact, this legislation asks local schools to use existing budgets to provide funding for pay increases. According to the Republicans, all it takes is shifting around a few items in those budgets. Reduce administrative expenses like providing heat in the winter and you can provide more money for teachers. Does this make sense?

“Now the governor has announced a plan to provide $140 million in ‘new’ funds that he wants schools to use to pay teachers. I would like to tell you how this system works, but all we have heard is that it would ‘pay off a pension liability that local schools currently pay.’ What does that mean? Who knows? The governor hasn’t explained it.

“What concerns me about all this is that the Republicans seem to be heading down a familiar path here. They hope that people fixate on big numbers like $140 million for teacher pay, and not look at the fine print of how it will work, which often leads to bigger problems. Will this money actually end up with teachers? Who knows?

“The easiest way to give teachers a pay raise is just that. Give them a pay raise.

“The fact that such an idea is not being seriously considered right now should concern all Hoosiers. They should be afraid…very afraid.”

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