INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — A state commission studying how to make Indiana’s teacher pay competitive with surrounding states has come up with a solution – pay them more.

The Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission on Monday released its report on improving teacher compensation in Indiana. The commission’s 182-page final report details a “gap” between competitive pay and Indiana’s current teacher salaries, which contributes to the challenges plaguing the state’s education system.

The commission found that Indiana’s average teacher salary of $51,119 in the 2018-19 school year ranked 38th for average teacher salaries out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. The state’s teacher pay fell 18 percent below the national average, the report said.

To get Indiana in line and more competitive in the region, the commission suggested a $60,000 average salary for teachers. That level would increase Indiana’s rank from ninth to third in the Midwest and third among Indiana’s neighbors, according to the report.

To improve the state’s teacher pay and close the teacher pay gap in the state, the commission laid out three steps:

  • Encourage and implement expense reallocation measures, so more dollars currently spent on other needs can be redirected to teacher salaries,
  • Increase sources of revenue available for teacher pay, and
  • Improve teacher compensation-related policies.

Achieving a more competitive compensation rate won’t be cheap, though. With more than 65,000 full-time public school teachers in Indiana, the report said an additional annual investment of more than $600 million will be necessary.

Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick, issued the following statement about the recommendations:

“The efforts of the Teacher Compensation Commission are recognized and appreciated. The Commission’s report presents the challenges Indiana schools face in their effort to be a competitive option in the national and statewide workforce. Additionally, the report presents over a decade of known data that tells Indiana’s K-12 story. Most schools can take pride in realizing many of the recommendations in the report have already been considered and implemented. As we enter the 2021 Indiana General Assembly legislative session, Hoosier educators look forward to the additional state funding and state-level policy actions necessary in order for teacher compensation to truly move forward.”

The Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission was formed in February 2019 by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to determine what competitive teacher compensation would look like in Indiana, and then give recommendations about how to achieve it.

To view the commission’s full report, CLICK HERE.