There has been much written on the subject of teacher shortage, teacher pay, recruitment of teachers and finally, retaining teachers.
I would like to introduce you to a young Indiana teacher to prove that is far more than a newspaper editorial.
Ryan Steinbrunner is a young teacher with 9 years experience. He lives in western Ohio and has driven to East Jay Middle School in Portland, Indiana to teach. He has coached boys basketball and golf, and is presently the high school golf coach. He is a talented math teacher, an excellent role model for young people and a valuable part of the school corporation. We worked together the last 3 years of my teaching career.
There is an 8th grade math teaching position that will open in a nearby Ohio school corporation due to a teacher retirement. I would expect Ryan to apply for this position and due to his years of experience and well documented performance, be a serious candidate. If you look at his present annual salary and the salary scale of the Ohio school corporation, he would make nearly $15,000 more doing the same job in Ohio.
You may have read that Governor Holcomb in February appointed a seven member Next Level Pay panel to study teacher pay and recommend strategies to increase teacher pay for the next budget writing session in 2021.
In December, I hosted a meeting between newly elected District 33 State House of Representative member John (JD) Prescott, Indiana State Senator Jeff Raatz, who is the chair of the Senate Education committee, the 5 public school superintendents from Randolph County and the superintendent from Liberty Perry school corporation. I used Ryan as an example of what is wrong with present teacher pay. If you lose Ryan to this job opening or any other, the next question becomes “Where do you find a comparable replacement?”
My position is, appointing a study commission and failing to address this issue only compounds the problem. The past and present governors and the state legislators have under funded public schools since property tax caps were implemented in 2008 and they now are sitting on nearly $2 billion of uncommitted rainy day funds.