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The letter, from House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray, said that leaders would codify the policy when the 2020 legislative session gets underway in January. They also committed to passing legislation to hold schools harmless for any consequences from the 2018-19 accountability grades. Several years of failing grades can trigger state intervention and more.
Educators praised the move to hold schools and teachers harmless but called on lawmakers to do more for teachers. Teacher pay became one of the most contentious issues during the last legislative session, with hundreds of teachers rallying at the Statehouse to call for raises.
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“Our members have been asking for action on this issue, and this is a step in the right direction,” said Keith Gambill, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association. “Kids, teachers, schools, and communities should not be penalized for low scores on the first year of a new test. While we appreciate considerations made for teachers who would qualify for a TAG, we also urge legislators to take steps toward adding to base salaries rather than relying on grants and stipends.”
Lawmakers struck a budget deal earlier this year that increased funding for the grants and changed rules for how they were distributed so every qualifying teacher should benefit from the grant program but did nothing to explicitly address base pay.
A panel, convened by Gov. Eric Holcomb, is currently looking at the teacher pay issue with the goal of delivering innovative ideas to raise salaries ahead of the 2021 budget session.