EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Evansville Teachers Association President Michael Rust says more than 500 teachers from Evansville will descend upon Indianapolis Tuesday morning, joining thousands from around the state for Red for Ed Day.
“It’s all about getting the state to fund our public education at the rate that it should be funded, which right now, is lacking atrociously,” said Rust.
Rust says teachers have been waiting for more state dollars to be flooded into the public education system. He says that simply hasn’t happened.
“Last year we were promised that there would be huge increases for public education that have been long overdue. We are 17% behind inflation based on salaries of 10 years ago and that is unacceptable,” said Rust.
According to the National Education Association, Indiana has the 37th lowest pay in the country with an average starting salary of about $36,000.
Rust says this is not about putting money in teachers pockets. It’s about offering livable wages which could help recruit and retain teachers.
“So we can provide the programs that we need to provide for our students. We need to provide for our teachers and employees of school corporations who are lacking in pay and is causing a teacher shortage that is a crisis right now,” said Rust.
Most importantly, he says it’s about making sure there are good people educating the youth.
“Our students are the basis of a a vibrant community. If they’re doing well and they’re being brought up in a good way and in good schools, and if that’s happening then our community are going to thrive and flourish and we cant do that when we are short on public education funding,' said Rust.
In neighboring Warrick County, Superintendent Brad Schneider tells 14 News as of last Thursday, more than 150 of their teachers had already signed up to participate. This accounts for nearly 25% of all teachers which, he says, is too many to find substitutes. Plus, Schneider says, the board wants to support their educators.
In addition to funding, Rust added the scores from the standardized ILearn tests, plus ways in which teachers are required to renew their licenses are concerns for their organization.
On Tuesday, we can expect meetings with lawmakers, stories from teachers, along with a march on the Statehouse grounds.
Governor Holcomb’s office says he will be in Florida for a Republican Governors Association conference which was scheduled months ago.