NewsPublic Affairs / February 18, 2019

Teachers Lobby Lawmakers For Increased School Funding, Teacher Pay

Teachers Lobby Lawmakers For Increased School Funding, Teacher Pay

Teachers met at the Indiana State Teachers Association building to learn strategies on finding their lawmakes, and about the bills the ISTA is focused on.

Photo by Jeanie Lindsey.

About 200 teachers from the Indiana State Teachers Association 7th district gathered at the Statehouse Monday to lobby for several issues, including increased teacher pay and school funding.

Sue Ellen Sopher, a middle school teacher from Maconaquah School Corporation, says she’s seen a lot of teachers leave the profession during her 15 years as a teacher.

"I've said for a while that the number one job of educators is to produce members, productive members of society," Sopher says. "At this point, we are failing our students because we do not have the tools necessary to do just that."

Raising teacher pay was a top priority for lawmakers this session but calls to gather more data have slowed the effort. Governor Eric Holcomb has called for a three percent increase in school funding for each of the next two years.

Keith Gambill, vice president of the State Teachers Association, says teachers can have a real impact at the Statehouse. 

"It's very powerful for just the handful of legislators that are covered in our district seven that they can then report out to their colleagues 'I had today, 200 plus folks come in to talk to me about the legislation we're talking about and we need to we need to carefully consider what we're doing,'" Gambill says. 

Gambill says many of the teachers had to take a personal day to come to the statehouse. 

The State Teachers Association will host a rally in March for teachers across the state.

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