EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A group of local educators are hoping to bring meaning to messages meant for Indiana’s elected leaders.
On Wednesday afternoon, they shared with 14 News that a couple topics continue to be top of mind. One of them is fighting for fair public school funding. The other issue supports contracted hours, which could carve out more time during the day to complete necessary tasks.
One teacher says when she leaves work, she often has to carry work tasks home with her because there is just simply not enough time during the day.
At 3 p.m., after the school day was done, a group of Harrison High School teachers stood together. Most of them were wearing red, a color that symbolizes support for public education.
There are points they are pushing to politicians.
In the fair funding fight, they feel that if public funds are given to private or charter schools, then they, too, should follow the same rules as those given to public schools.
“We are funded based on the amount of pupils,” teacher Julie Trice explained. “A student will start out at a private or charter school, and that school will get the funding. Then, the student will get transferred out of there to a public school for the rest of the school year, and we receive no funding. But, we are expected to educate that student and provide meals.”
Trice has taught with EVSC for 17 years. The last three have been at Harrison High School.
She says with a substitute shortage, among other factors, a 45-minute planning period is not enough. She usually fills the time by picking up other responsibilities within the building, which means that grading and more gets done at home on personal time.
“The students definitely keep me motivated,” Trice added. “They keep me young. They keep me coming back to my job. I love being in the classroom. It’s the administrative paperwork, and the long hours, and the hundreds and hundreds of essays being graded that I don’t have time during the day. It’s stressful to do. So, trying to balance that with a family and my own personal time, it’s difficult and stressful.”
This is not a local or even district issue. It is several school systems around the region, and even state, coming together to try influence those who travel to Indianapolis to vote on the budget and school funding.
It is estimated more than 90% of Indiana’s students are in public schools.
The Evansville Teachers Association shared on Facebook, that the proposed House GOP budget prioritizes private schools over public schools.
A chart, shared by the ETA, shows private schools and ESAs would receive a 23.4% 2022 funding increase and 29.3% 2023 funding increase. Yet, traditional public schools would receive less than a combined 5% over the next two years.
EVSC officials confirmed overnight that all employees will be getting a $1,000 COVID relief stipend in their May 28 paychecks.