TIPPECANOE & BENTON COUNTIES, Ind. (WLFI)- Governor Eric Holcomb announced in his State of the State Address that he won't be taking immediate action in addressing teacher pay. Teachers in Indiana have been raising their voices about their low wages since the end of last year.
"We want to see meaningful steps taken," said Marydell Forbes the Co-President of the Tippecanoe Education Association
Tuesday, the Governor brought up teacher pay in his State of the State address.
"Tonight I am recommending that in the next budget the General Assembly uses an additional $250 million from our surplus and put it towards teacher retirement funds, in turn, $50 million a year will be generated to redirect towards teacher pay," said Governor Eric Holcomb during his State of the State Address.
That recommendation is leaving some teachers skeptical about pay raises in the future.
"I guess at this point I am a little pessimistic and we will see if reality is as good as what it sounds on paper," said Scott Smith the President of the Benton County Education Association.
Other educators say they need pay raises now, not later.
"We have a $400 million surplus and he is talking about the potential for funds if school districts see fit to possibly, in two years, make their way into teacher's pockets,” added Forbes. “I still know teachers working two or three jobs."
Teachers in rural school districts say, the funding they're asking for is more than just a pay raise for teachers.
"It's about keeping schools open and running with the staff they have,” added Smith. “Also keeping class sizes manageable especially on the elementary level."
While teachers are happy the governor is acknowledging their concerns, they say they want a promise pay increases will happen not a recommendation.
"These are college-educated professionals,” added Forbes. “We are asking to be treated as those so that we can send our children to college and have a decent middle-class standard of living."
Although the last budget session made a record increase in teachers' pay, Indiana still ranked last in the Midwest in terms of teachers’ salaries.