ISTA to push for higher starting salaries, increased bargaining power in working conditions for teachers

Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) – Ahead of the state’s legislative session, the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) is pushing lawmakers to allow for higher starting salaries and better working conditions for teachers.

ISTA President Keith Gambill, along with other teachers, say these topics need to be addressed to alleviate an ongoing teacher shortage.

Since the Red for Ed movement began in 2018, the ISTA has pushed to raise the starting salary for teachers to $40,000 per year. The ISTA published this map to indicate which school districts have and have not met that threshold.

212 school districts have met this goal, according to the ISTA. About a quarter of all school districts have not met this minimum starting salary goal. According to this map, all four school districts in Allen County have a starting salary of at least $40,000.

The association is also pushing lawmakers to include health and safety, class size and prep periods in collective bargaining talks. Currently, teachers are not able to collectively bargain for those conditions with school districts.

Gambill says the association is targeting these areas in response to teachers working long hours and with little time to prep between lessons.

“There’s much more to the working conditions than just salary,” Gambill said. “Because we have not been able to negotiate these items, we’ve seen an erosion over the past years. We recognize that this problem is not going to get solved overnight.”

The next steps for the ISTA is to push lawmakers to expand collective bargaining talks for teachers.

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