Gov. Eric Holcomb looking to increase teacher pay, eliminate textbook fees

Gov. Eric Holcomb looking to increase teacher pay, eliminate textbook fees
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 7:56 PM EST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has announced his proposed 2023 budget.

That plan includes more than $1 billion of additional funding for K-12 education.

Holcomb announced the plan last week, but spoke more about it in Tuesday’s State of the State Address.

“The most important determinant of a child’s success in adulthood is their education,” Holcomb said. “Furthermore, the quality of their education relies overwhelmingly on two groups of people: parents and teachers.”

The proposed budget would raise the average teacher pay in the Hoosier State from $56,600 to $60,000.

Holcomb says that if the budget passes, the overall 8% increase in K-12 funding will be put in place over the next two years.

This will help Indiana catch up in terms of average pay. Evansville Teachers Association President Lori Young says Indiana is currently 41st in the nation for average teacher pay.

“I looked at our other states that surround Indiana, and we are the lowest on the average pay increase, too,” Young said, referring to Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.

Young says she’s seen teachers leaving Evansville and the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation for higher-paying jobs in other districts, states, or in a different industry.

Another aspect of Holcomb’s proposed budget has the state paying for textbook and curriculum fees, instead of parents.

He pointed out that the Indiana Constitution promises free public education to everyone in the state, but points out parents are paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks each year.

“Sadly Indiana remains one of only seven states that still allows this disguised tax to be levied on parents each year,” Holcomb said.

Parents tell 14 News they pay over $200 a year for textbooks, per child.

The Indiana state legislators will ultimately decide if Holcomb’s budget is passed in its current form.

Several Tri-State representatives are expected to be at a public forum on Saturday, Jan. 14 in Evansville.

This is happening in the Browning Room and the Central Library, starting at 9:15 a.m.

Young encouraged people passionate about teacher pay to attend the event and let their voices be heard.