GOP gubernatorial candidate Eric Doden proposes policy incentives to retain, attract teachers
Indiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Doden discusses his “Teacher Investment Program” in a campaign ad released Friday. (Photo from Eric Doden’s campaign video)
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Eric Doden is pushing a plan to remedy Indiana’s ongoing teacher shortage by providing new financial incentives to current and prospective educators.
The teacher program marks some of the first definitive policy proposals by any of the candidates vying for the Indiana governor’s seat. That field of candidates on Monday officially grew by two more after U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch formally announced their campaigns for governor.
Doden’s “Teacher Investment Program” seeks to attract and retain Hoosier teachers by making public school teachers exempt from state income tax and providing an additional state tax credit for those who own a home.
Indiana schools are struggling with a teacher shortage as many have retired and fewer Hoosiers are getting into the profession. Heading into the school year, schools had about 2,300 open teaching positions statewide.
For teachers who achieve at least 20 years of service in the classroom, the tax exemption and tax credit become permanent so long as their primary residence remains in Indiana.
Doden’s campaign said the plan also includes a commitment to work with Indiana’s colleges and universities “to lower the cost of becoming a teacher.” It’s not clear what that could mean specifically for tuition prices, however. The policy proposal indicates the tuition support is targeted at students who graduate with teaching degrees and continue on to teach in Indiana.
Details for the teacher program are laid out in a two-page white paper. A 36-second promotional video highlighting the teacher plan was released on Friday.
“The bottom line is that too many school corporations are unable to attract and retain quality teachers,” Doden’s campaign wrote in the policy paper. “This poses an existential threat to the children of Indiana and our overall economic wellbeing.”
Cost breakdowns outlined in Doden’s plan indicate Indiana would spend an estimated $110 million to repeal the 3.1% state income tax for public K-12 teachers
With a home ownership rate of 73% in Indiana, the school teacher property tax credit is expected to cost taxpayers $147 million per year, according to the policy brief.
Doden’s campaign said the goal — within eight years — is to achieve a 60% completion rate for college students seeking a degree in education; retain at least 85%of teachers after their first two years in the profession; and attract teachers to Indiana from other states at a rate greater than that of teacher migration out of the state.
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