The Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission released its report (pdf) on Indiana’s teacher compensation. Take anything I write here with a grain of salt — I’m just summarizing it as I go and might be making some mistakes. The Commission says that average teacher compensation should be raised to $60k to be competitive. (I don’t know if that’s inclusive of benefits or if that’s just straight salary). The report says that the $41k Indiana teachers averaged in 2000 would now be about $62k if it had held pace with inflation. (It did not). We’re at about $51,000.
To find the funding to increase teacher compensation to these levels, the Commission recommends:
- Forcing working spouses off of teacher health benefits packages and make them use their own company’s benefits (assuming, I guess, that their companies will offer something comparable.)
- Forcing Medicare-eligible retirees off of teacher health benefits package.
- Adopting the State’s pharmacy benefit plan.
- Centralized procurement.
- Joining liability risk pools.
- Firing surplus teachers and using their old salaries to supplement existing teachers’ salaries.
- Privatize non-teacher positions (e.g. custodians, etc.)
- Pass operating referendums.
- Set up an Education Foundation to receive charitable contributions.
- Increase salaries in areas where teacher demand is higher and/or where students need more attention.
On the state level, the Commission recommends, among other things:
- Paying down pension liability costs,
- Establishing an “efficiency division” in State government to help schools become more efficient and set efficiency standards.
- Have School Districts consider consolidation when their superintendent announces a retirement or resignation.
- Exempt schools from the mandatory $1 sale of public school buildings to charter schools if the public school consolidates with another district.
- Eliminate the 529 plan tax credit for households making over $150,000 and divert the resulting tax revenue to teacher compensation.
- Allow townships to fund school capital projects.
- Modify requirements for TIF districts.
- Allow schools with large cash reserves to deficit finance teacher compensation.
- Provide a tax credit for donations to programs that fund teacher pay.
- Allow operating referendum to stay in place until repealed rather than expiring every seven years.
- Implement a teacher pay “check off” on tax returns. (In other words, you can elect to donate $5 of your tax return to support teacher pay.)
- Require residential developers to pay impact fees to offset a need for school facilities created by the residential developments.
- Tax increase.
- Establish a minimum salary of $40,000.
- Limit the use of stipends (and make them part of base salaries) and set a compensation funding floor which would discourage schools from pocketing the savings when higher salaried teachers retire – instead making them plow that money back into the compensation pool.
- Require teacher compensation equal 45% of the State’s funding support amount.
- Increase the complexity funding component.
- Require districts to provide individual teachers with a financial breakdown of their total salary, retirement, and health benefits.
- Increase funding for recruitment of minority teachers.
- Establish a formal initiative to improve teacher recruitment and job satisfaction beyond compensation, including but not limited to promoting teacher residencies and reducing regulations affecting teachers.
Looks like they kind of threw the kitchen sink into these recommendations, so there is some good and bad. Because it’s so broad, I imagine the legislature can more or less do what it wants with the recommendation.
Maybe more later.