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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Legislators are poised to roll back one obstacle to teacher pay raises:

State law requires teacher raises to be based primarily on their performance evaluations. Eight years ago, then-Governor Mitch Daniels pushed through a law capping how much weight schools can give seniority or postgraduate degrees. He argued teachers shouldn’t get raises just because they’ve been around a long time.

But Senate Education Chairman Jeff Raatz says that’s ended up taking away newer teachers’ ability to get raises by expanding their credentials. The Senate voted unanimously to let local schools decide the proper balance. The House could vote next week on a version which would give evaluations and experience equal weight.

The House bill also includes a provision to fix an unintended consequence of the salary rule. The law applies to raises, not starting salaries. Raatz says that’s led to a situation where two teachers can have identical experience and credentials, but if one teacher switches to a new school after a few years, he can get hired in at a higher salary than the teacher who’s been there the whole time. The bill would allow schools to give catch-up raises in that situation.

(Photo: Jetta Productions/Thinkstock)