INDIANAPOLIS – A new bill could change what determines increases in teacher salaries in hopes of retaining teachers.
“A superintendent in my district came to me and said we’re losing teachers that are new to teaching after their first several years of teaching,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Jeff Raatz, R-Centerville. “They get no raise and part of it is because of the way the session is set up.”
If Senate Bill 10 is passed, school districts using teaching experience as a factor could increase salaries for teachers with less than 10 years of experience. The percentage increase of salaries could be raised from a maximum of 33 percent to 58 percent. For teachers with at least 10 years of experience, it would remain the same at 33 percent.
The bill also removes the salary increase cap if a school district uses additional degrees as a factor when determining pay.
Some organizations voiced concerns during the Education and Career Development Committee meeting Wednesday.
“We do not support the bill at the current time, but we do support the intent and understand the needs to find solutions for the dual credit issue and also teacher retention in general,” said Caitlyn Bell, vice president of policy and government affairs for the Indiana Institute for Quality Education.
Bell suggested the bill be tweaked similarly to a bill from last year that gave school corporations the ability to provide supplemental pay to teachers to go back and get a masters degree for dual credit or for specific content that they teach. She said this would give the school leaders the ability to decide when it would be appropriate to pay teachers more.
“We would like to give more flexibility to school leaders in this area,” Bell said.
Sally Sloan, representing the American Federation of Teachers, said she is worried about the teachers with at least 10 years of experience.
“I can’t look down the road and find out exactly what happens in the eleventh year when it’s less than 58 percent,” Sloan said.
Others spoke out about their support for the bill.
“If they don’t get a raise it’s going to be hard to keep [teachers] there,” John Varns, director of legislative affairs for the Indiana Department of Education, said.
Raatz will be considering making amendments to the bill and it will be looked at again next week.
Amanda Creech is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.