A bill in the Indiana Statehouse could take away collective bargaining power from teachers and give it to school corporations.
Supporters of House Bill 1004 say it was designed to solve the teacher shortage but opponents say it will do just the opposite. The bill proposes to give “better” teachers more pay. The idea may be dead for this session of the general assembly although it still appears on the schedule for Tuesday.
Educators and administrators alike say the bill wouldn’t solve the teacher shortage but would create more problems, “I think 1004 can become a very divisive bit of legislation, that once again, could drive a wedge between school corporations and the very important asset that we have in our teachers,” said EVSC’s Dr. Smith.
The bill would have given school corporations the power to determine teacher pay above and beyond salary caps — in other words teachers the corporation determines are doing a better job would get more pay. EVSC Superintendent Dr. David Smith says this is something the school corporation already has, “We have latitude in our current collective bargaining agreement that allows us to place a teacher at a higher level on the placement schedule should that warrant.”
Smith further says the bill could work against the very problem it was authored to solve, “Teachers are servant leaders at heart. No one goes into the business for purely compensation, that being said we want to pay our teachers a great wage. We think they certainly deserve that. I’ve also found and read quite a bit that people aren’t that concerned about their compensation until they are compared to someone else.”
Since teacher compensation is public record anyone could determine a colleague’s salary which could lead to morale problems, “If somebody is unhappy with what’s going on in their building, in the room next door, it can effect their job performance and how happy they are. It’s not just a 9-5 job it’s so much in the evenings and weekends and all the extra work that’s involved,” said former teacher now Castle High School’s Principal Doug Gresham.
Ultimately, educators want law makers to get behind education and quit trying to legislate it, “Unfortunately teacher pay has not kept up with inflation in the last 15 years and so we need the legislature to step up and fully fund education so that we can have teachers being paid where they were 15 years ago with respect to inflation. This bill doesn’t fix that, this bill doesn’t create anything except for possibly make it even worse,” said Gresham.
House bill 10-04 is still on Tuesday’s assembly schedule, but senate leaders say a vote is not expected in this session.