HB 1004 was heard in Senate Pensions and Labor Committee on Wednesday; it was amended and then passed 7-4 and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
The bill establishes the teacher’s defined contribution plan as an account within the Indiana state teachers’ retirement fund and specifies rules and regulations regarding the fund. It also provides that a school corporation may hire an individual to teach if the individual: (1) has a bachelor’s degree with at least a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in a content area related to the area in which the individual intends to teach; (2) has passed content area licensure assessments required by the Department of Education to teach in the area in which the applicant intends to teach; and (3) has a valid teaching license in another state; provides that the individual is considered a certificated employee; provides that a school corporation may provide a supplemental payment in excess of the salary specified in the school corporation’s compensation plan to a teacher who is, or will be, employed in a position that is difficult to fill by the school corporation; and incorporates some recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission regarding solutions to a teacher shortage.
An amendment was adopted to include some recommendations from the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Blue Ribbon Commission. Another amendment was defeated that would require the supplemental pay provision to be subject to collective bargaining
The Chamber is in favor of giving teachers a choice when it comes to their benefit plans and therefore supports the idea of having the option of a defined contribution plan for teachers. We believe that providing teachers with more options and choices in retirement benefits will be a strong incentive and a perk of entering the profession. It will also leave them with more options if, down the road, they choose to move to a different school district or leave the profession.
We also believe that allowing reciprocity of teaching licenses from out of state will provide an opportunity to address any potential teacher shortage issues in Indiana. It’s another motivation for teachers to relocate here.
Lastly, the Chamber strongly supports the language in the bill that would allow for school corporations to provide additional salary flexibility for high-need positions. The Indiana Chamber has always supported rewarding good teachers for the important job they do. Giving administrators the ability to offer additional payment beyond the standard salary is an important step toward recruiting the teachers we need.
All three provisions in this legislation help elevate the teaching profession and assist with potential teacher shortage issues.