Inflation Harms School District Recruitment Efforts – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather forecast

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Soaring inflation rates are affecting all industries, but one of the hardest hit groups is public sector teachers.

Michael Hicks, an economist at Ball State University, said: “The challenge facing schools is that their budget for this year was set about 18 to 20 months ago when inflation expectations were very low. , an increase of about 2%. What we actually saw was an increase of about 10% over last year.

Indiana uses a semi-annual budget system, which means the current budget was set in early 2021 before inflation spiked. This budget will last until June 30, 2023. The next biennial state budget will be determined when the legislature resumes in January. It will be in effect from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2025.

Most districts in the state have teaching and other staff positions open, and, Hicks said, it’s hard to fill jobs when private-sector salaries mostly keep pace with inflation.

“Prospective teachers face the challenge of accepting a significantly lower salary than they received last year or going into the private sector. This is going to make it very difficult for school boards.

Hicks said that before this increase in inflation, teachers were already earning about 16% less than those in the private sector. Add almost 10% inflation to their cost of living and they are looking to earn 25-30% less.

“Early childhood education can go to the private sector. Primary education can go to private education. There is such a demand for college graduates right now in all fields that any college degree will lead you to some kind of training, management or sales position,” he said.

Hicks says good schools are essential for the economy.

“It’s really the challenge of funding schools to get enough money to keep the kinds of teachers you need to produce good graduates who are ready to go on to post-secondary education and contribute to the economy.

Indiana’s next biennial budget will be decided before lawmakers know what inflation might bring.