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Sen. Eddie Melton

State Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, speaks in October 2017 to a legislative committee about education.

INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, wants to give Indiana teachers a pay raise.

The first-term lawmaker last week said he will work to increase state spending on education and educators when the General Assembly convenes in January.

"Our teachers are taking on more responsibility and are feeling less respected and less appreciated each year," Melton said.

"I am proposing we raise teacher salaries by allocating additional funds to the school funding formula in the upcoming budget session to show our teachers that we value the hard work they do for all of our state's children."

The former State Board of Education member said data show Indiana teacher salaries have stagnated since 2009, after accounting for inflation, which likely explains in part the state's persistent teacher shortage.

"According to the Center for Economic Performance, there is a direct correlation between rising teacher pay and positive student performance," Melton said.

"At the end of the day, we want our students to succeed and the best way we can make sure they do is to invest in our teachers.

"The time to increase teacher pay is long overdue."

Neither Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, nor leaders in the Republican-controlled House and Senate, have yet to announce their education funding plans for the new, two-year state budget that takes effect in July.

Though Republican Jennifer McCormick, the state superintendent of public instruction, this month called for only an inflation-level increase in the school funding formula, in effect maintaining the current state education spending level.

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Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.