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ISTA Puts Teacher Pay, School Safety Among Top Legislative Priorities

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ISTA President Teresa Meredith presented the group's 2019 legislative priorities. (Carter Barrett/WFYI)

The Indiana State Teacher Association announced teacher compensation is one of its top legislative priorities.

ISTA President Teresa Meredith says Indiana teacher salaries aren't competitive, and teachers are leaving the state and the profession. Teachers in Indiana are paid an average of $48,743 per year, according to the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board. 

"This means we need to pay competitive wages – not only to attract qualified teachers but to keep them," Meredith says. "Right now, that’s not happening." 

Gov. Eric Holcomb has also called for increased teacher pay but recently suggested it may be pushed until the 2021 legislative budget session. 

School safety is also listed as an ISTA priority, focusing on an increased investment in school counselors and mental health professionals. 

"We believe that smaller class size allows a teacher to know their students better and pick up on subtleties that could become major issues," Meredith says. 

Updated school buses with cameras and stop-arm lights were also included. In October, three children were hit and killed by a car while crossing the street at a northern Indiana bus stop.  

ISTA is also calling for increased charter and virtual schools oversight.

The legislative session will begin Jan. 3.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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