New data shows Indiana’s teacher pay is ticking up—but still trails averages in neighboring states—as the debate over Hoosier educator salaries continues.
The average teacher salary in Indiana is $58,531—up from about $57,000 the year prior—according to the 2022-23 state teacher compensation report by the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board.
The lowest teacher salary reported was $38,000. The highest is about $108,000.
More than 31,000 full-time Hoosier teachers earn above the statewide average. Almost 32,000 educators still earn below that margin, per the report.
Currently, Indiana law requires a minimum salary of $40,000 for each full-time teacher. The Indiana State Teachers Association’s (ISTA) county-by-county map of average teacher salaries and starting salaries shows most, but not all, Hoosier districts have raised salary minimums during the previous and current school years.
But representatives from the state’s largest teacher union told the Indiana Capital Chronicle that the latest IEERB report shows “there is still work to be done in achieving the teacher salary goals set by the governor in 2020.”
“It’s evident that other states continue to outpace Indiana in making investments in K-12 education, placing Indiana at a disadvantage,” said ISTA President Keith Gambill, who emphasized in November that the union is additionally continuing to lobby for professional pay benefits and support for parent educators, bus drivers, food service workers and other “vital support staff.”
He said salary concerns are further “amplified” by “weak” school funding in the recent state budget’s second year, “which jeopardizes the progress made in the previous budget cycle.” In response, part of ISTA’s 2024 legislative agenda calls for a $500 million increase to basic tuition support for traditional public schools in the 2025 fiscal year
“ISTA remains committed to attracting and retaining the best educators by being competitive on teacher pay,” Gambill continued. “We will continue to advocate for prioritizing public school funding to ensure what’s best for our students.”
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb—whose 2024 agenda is expected to be released Monday—said previously that he intends to make teacher pay competitive with surrounding states and get Indiana’s average teacher salary up to $60,000. The same increase was recommended by the governor’s 2020 Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission.
Legislation mandating such pay has yet to pass. Instead, Holcomb has said he trusts districts to manage their own budgets and find ways to increase teacher salaries locally.
Republican legislative leaders have repeatedly said they do not intend to re-open the Indiana budget during the 2024 short session—meaning any bills requiring new state funds before the next budget cycle are unlikely to advance.
Even so, a new bill filed by Rep. Sheila Klinker, D-Lafayette, seeks to increase teacher minimum salaries to $60,000.
House Bill 1037 would require school corporations that cannot meet the requirement to submit a report to the Indiana Department of Education explaining why they cannot meet the pay threshold.
“Teachers need to know that they’re valued and appreciated. It’s essential that teacher pay reflects the hard work and dedication of our educators. We’re experiencing a nationwide teacher shortage, so we need to encourage people to come into our profession,” said Klinker, a retired teacher. “Raising the minimum salary to a competitive pay is the start of recruiting new educators. … We must encourage people to join—and stay—in our profession.”
The latest salary data
The IEERB has issued its Collective Bargaining Report each year since 2013. All Hoosier school corporations and employers that bargain with an exclusive representative organization are required to complete the survey.
Of the 305 entities that submitted data for the latest analysis, 289 were traditional public schools, 10 were special education cooperatives, and six were career centers.
Total salary costs for all teachers across Indiana totaled more than $3.6 billion. At least 291 school corporations use federal grants and 31 use property tax referendums to support teacher salaries.
Indiana law additionally tasks the IEERB with collecting teacher salary averages from surrounding states, including Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky. Data from Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky were not yet available and left out of the report, however.
Although Wisconsin and Ohio reported teacher salary minimums at $35,000—$3,000 lower than Indiana—educators in both states average higher annual pay than their Hoosier counterparts.
Salary statistics for Wisconsin indicate an average teacher salary of $61,858. In Ohio, the average is $71,495.
Indiana’s district-level administrators also average lower annual salaries than in neighboring states.
Administrators in Indiana average $113,746 per year, according to the IEERB report, while those in Wisconsin average $153,111, and $130,372 in Ohio.
Even when adjusted for cost of living, salaries for Indiana’s teachers are below that of educators in Wisconsin and Ohio.
Indiana superintendents, meanwhile, averaged $ 136,961 in 2022-23. Superintendent salary comparisons for other states were not included in the report.
Indiana’s average teacher salary is ranked 39th in the United States by the National Education Association. The state’s average teacher starting salary is ranked 29th.
More educators in the pipeline
Though K-12 enrollment in Hoosier school decreased by 2,605 students in 2022-23, the Indiana teacher workforce grew by more than 200 educators, according to the report.
The total number of full-time teachers in the state increased to 62,882—up from 62,673 in 2021-22, and 62,393 in 2019-20.
The number of teacher candidates enrolled in Indiana colleges and universities that offer teacher credentialing programs increased to 11,824 in 2021-22, latest school year data available. That’s an increase from 10,972 would-be educators in 2018-2019.
More than 3,600 first-year, full-time educators were hired during the 2022-23 school year. Another 1,415 teachers retired.
Fewer teachers are being retained, however. According to the IEERB survey data, 55,227 teachers were retained in 2022-23 from the previous year. That’s compared to 55,682 the year before, and 56,999 in 2020-21.
The number of district-level administrators also dropped to 806 in the 2022-23 school year, 138 fewer than the year prior.
Multiple initiatives spearheaded by Indiana lawmakers and state education officials are currently underway to boost teacher numbers. That includes scholarships and multiple other incentive programs meant to recruit and retain students in education preparation programs.
The Indiana Capital Chronicle is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that covers state government, policy and elections.