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Rebuilding Stronger and teacher pay are goals in new IPS budget

The logo for Indianapolis Public Schools. (WISH Photo)

(MIRROR INDY) — It’s budget season for Indianapolis Public Schools, meaning district leaders are beginning to make decisions about how they want to spend money over the next year.

For IPS, the district’s Rebuilding Stronger plan will be a priority. Taxpayers approved a capital referendum last spring directing $410 million to building renovations. The district, like schools across the country, will also consider which programs to end as federal funds awarded during the coronavirus pandemic wind down.

IPS was given more than $217 million in federal pandemic money, district records show. Chief Financial Officer Weston Young told school board members last week that the district has already used about $164 million and is on track to spend the rest by the funding’s September deadline.

The district also plans to continue boosting teacher pay. IPS has increased teachers’ salaries every year over the last decade after a five-year pay freeze from 2010 to 2014. Teacher pay is primarily supported by state funding determined every two years by Indiana lawmakers.

IPS expects to receive a 1.3% increase in state funding next year for each student enrolled, followed by a 1.5% increase the year after. However, the district is projecting a decline in student enrollment, meaning it will likely see a decrease in overall state funding.

IPS leaders are also getting a first look this winter at the possible impact of a new law requiring school districts in Marion County to share a portion of growth in property taxes with local charter schools.

By IPS’ estimates, the district could see an increasing amount of property taxes shared with charter schools each year, starting with about $4 million in 2025 and increasing up to $17 million by 2032. That’s money the district could otherwise use for operational expenses such as transportation and school maintenance.

“Potentially, we could be seeing less revenue in the long run,” Young told IPS commissioners last week. “So, the replacement revenue is a critical consideration, and the replacement services is a key consideration.”

Learn more about the budget

IPS began its budget conversation in November, when it first received revenue projections for the coming year. State law spells out how public school districts’ budgeting processes should go, setting timelines for public hearings and board approvals.

Each school district is generally required to post its proposed budget online and convene a public meeting before adopting the budget. Here are the important dates to watch in IPS:

  • March 1: IPS administrators publish notice of their budget and upcoming meetings with the state and on the district’s website.
  • March 11: IPS commissioners will meet for a public hearing to review the new budget. The hearing, which may include discussion of other district business, is set to begin at 6 p.m. at Northwest Middle School, 5525 W. 34th St.
  • March 21: IPS administrators will ask commissioners to approve the budget. This meeting is open to the public and is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the John Morton Finney Education Center at 120 E. Walnut St.
  • March 30: The district will submit its budget to the state for approval.
  • April – June: Administrators will use approved appropriations to develop line-item budgets, drilling down to funding on a school level.

Mirror Indy reporter Carley Lanich covers early childhood and K-12 education. Contact her at or follow her on X @carleylanich.