The 2019 budget-writing session just wrapped up, and because of supporters who signed petitions and sent letters, we saw true progress in our effort to elevate the teaching profession and keep the best educators in the classroom. We are a step closer to solving the teacher crisis in Indiana.
Our goal was to make the case for elevating the teaching profession in Indiana through three priority bills. All were passed into law, and funding was finally secured for teacher career ladders and growing residency programs – a total of $4.5 million between the two programs:
HB 1003 (school corporation expenditure targets) focused on encouraging local districts to shift more money to the classroom (including teacher compensations) and away from growing administrative positions, which was a trend that our report highlighted.
HB 1008 pushed for the expansion of teacher career ladders through a competitive pilot grant program. While this pilot has been supported in past sessions, the grant program had yet to be funded by the state. The state funded career ladders $3.5M this session.
HB 1009 established the teacher residency program and grant fund. Similar language had been supported by Stand for Children Indiana and passed in a prior session, but no funding had been secured. The state funded career ladders $1M this session.
Education spending remained a focus throughout session, and even though it was a very tight budget year, there was an overall increase of $763M for education. This is the largest K-12 education increase in years. And while we would have liked to have seen more investment specifically for teacher pay this session, we hope the progress that was made signals a long-term commitment by lawmakers and the Governor to lift up teachers in the future. There was incremental progress made toward elevating the teaching profession and we hope this is just the beginning.