Tara Martin | Web Editor-in-Chief
Biology and Honors Anatomy and Physiology Teacher Lauren Patton will not be at school on Tuesday, Nov. 19 and chances are, many of her colleagues won’t be either.
Nov. 19 is Red For Ed Action Day. Teachers from all over the state plan to march downtown at the Statehouse and advocate for better funding for teachers and the school districts they work in.
“Red For Ed is there to raise awareness about teachers and school districts needing proper funding and also about giving back to the students,” Patton said.
While Avon Community School District received additional funding this school year as a result of a passed referendum, the state of Indiana ranks 51st in the country, including Washington D.C., for teacher salary raises over the last 15 years according to a study done by Rockefeller Institute of Government.
“I am treated so well here at Avon. Here at Avon, I make enough. It’s not enough to live on my own, but I can support myself. I need a roommate, but we’re able to make it through,” Patton said. “Whereas, I have a friend who teaches on the east side of Indianapolis; we have the same degree, we’ve been teaching for the same amount of time, and she makes $9,000 less than what I do a year.”
At Avon, Patton said that each department receives funding for resources such as pencils and markers, but that’s not the case for every public school district in Indiana and even Avon’s funding does eventually run out.
“In years prior, we were able to write off supplies on our taxes. We don’t get that anymore. If I buy any supplies for my class, I’m not allowed to claim those on taxes,” Patton said.
Though 130 of Indiana’s public school districts have planned to cancel classes or have declared an e-learning day on Tuesday, Nov. 19, Avon Community Schools Corporation Superintendent Margaret Hoernemann said that Avon Schools will continue with classes as planned.
“We are working closely with our teachers’ union, The Avon Federation of Teachers, to coordinate efforts so that we have adequate coverage for our classrooms,” Hoernemann said. “We believe it is best for our students to remain open and do not want to have a make-up day in the future if we were to close.”
For Tuesday’s protest, Patton said that students’ priorities should be helping out with the substitute teachers as much as possible since there will be such an influx of them on that day.
“We’re not abandoning [students],” Patton said. “I know this sounds strange, but if I’m not healthy and happy, my kids aren’t going to be healthy and happy.”
Photos submitted by Cori Firkins