INDIANAPOLIS—On Wednesday, State Senator Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) filed two education bills for the 2021 legislative session.

Sen. Qaddoura’s first proposal seeks to address the issue of low teacher pay in Indiana and would set a $40,000 minimum pay salary for new teachers. A minimum salary would help attract and retain new teachers to the profession and also increase pay for all teachers regardless of their years of service.

“Indiana has the slowest teacher salary growth in the nation, and my bill would help our state begin addressing this troubling issue,” Sen. Qaddoura said. “I knew that this would be a top focus for me coming into the statehouse. I value our teachers and believe they deserve adequate pay for the significant work that they do.”

“That’s why I was glad to see that one of the governor’s Next Level Teacher Compensation recommendations, for addressing teacher pay in our state, is satisfied by my bill. It’s clear that this is an important measure that we must take to get our teachers the fair pay they deserve. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both chambers on either side of the aisle to get my bill passed.”

Sen. Qaddoura’s second education bill would do several things:

  • Expand eligibility for the early education pilot program
  • Protects school funding from being cut for remoting learning due to the pandemic by altering the definition of “virtual instruction”
  • Reduce teacher externship requirements
  • Authorize the School Board of education to assign school performance grades using the 2019-2020 school year if it exceeds 2020-2021 performance
  • Require the Department of Education to present a complexity index update to the Budget Committee biannually to adequately fund school corporations
  • Waive consequences for school improvement for the 2020-2021 school year
  • Provide civil immunity for COVID-19 exposure for schools and school corporations that adhered to CDC guidelines

“This was a hefty bill, but it contains some very important provisions that aim to help and protect our public schools as we continue to battle this pandemic,” Sen. Qaddoura said. “Taking into account all the hurdles and struggles teachers were up against this past year, it’s essential that we approve legislation that supports our schools. Indiana’s schools must know they are not alone during this public health crisis and as we move forward.”