Vigo County teachers discuss Indiana’s teacher pay increase recommendations

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Vigo County teachers like Heidi McDonald take pride in educating students.

McDonald said even though she’s never done it for the money, she believes local teachers deserve more.

“They need to know that I can make a lifetime living, that is what everyone wants to do. I think that our profession is one of the most rewarding professions that you can have,” she said. “You’re educating and hopefully building a love for learning in your students.”

Next Level Teacher Compensation Commissioners conducted a survey with the help of more than 1,000 Hoosier educators and other school leaders to craft 37 recommendations for how state government and school districts can increase teacher pay.

It was recommended that the minimum teacher salary be increased to $40,000 with average salaries increasing to $60,000 from $53,000.

Michael Smith, commission chairman, said their main goal was providing options for all schools.

“Teacher compensation is a very complex process. There is no easy one size fits all solution to fund our gap. This commission’s goal was to provide both state government and local school corporations with a full menu of options, recognizing that circumstances vary widely from one school corporation to another,” he noted.

Recommendations in the report include redistributing funds, policy changes and creating more revenue with the goal of keeping educators in Indiana.

McDonald said there is more work to be done when it comes to teacher compensation. However, she believes this is a step in the right direction.

“If our state legislators invest in education, It absolutely can be. If we can get to that $40,000 and $60,000 mark, that’s a huge step in the right direction. But it’s also a step that they need to realize isn’t just one time only.” 

If these recommendations are implemented during the 2021 legislative session, Indiana would be ranked third in the Midwest when it comes to average teacher salaries.

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