I-Team 8

Pike Township Schools parents call on superintendent to resign

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In an online petition, parents of the Metropolitan School District of Pike Township are calling for the resignation of Superintendent Flora Reichanadter after the district had another day of remote learning due to a shortage of bus drivers.

“I’ve had my first three periods … I had no one this morning. They’re sleeping in,” Bill Rawls, a Pike High School teacher, tells I-Team 8 describing his students missing out on class. “They’re not getting on. They’re just worn on by it.”

Rawls says his students are worn out from having to go back and forth between online and in-person learning due to a lack of teachers or bus drivers who are fighting the district’s leaders for pay raises.

“It’s absolutely destroying the morale of the teachers. There are numerous teachers, including myself, that are thinking about leaving. I’m going to retire, I think, at the end of the year,” Rawls said.

Rawls took I-Team 8 through the district’s budget for the year. He says, in the district’s education fund, there’s expected to be a nearly $5 million surplus and, in the operation fund, it shows a nearly $7 million surplus. Rawls says the teachers’ association is asking for about $3 million, which equals a nearly 7% pay raise.

I-Team 8 found that in the 2019-2020 school year, Reichanadter received a 9% pay raise. Her raise is what Rawls and many teachers and parents say is fueling the fire of why the district can’t pay the staff more money.

“The bus drivers typically will get paid for the fall break, Christmas break and spring break. They were told last Friday that they weren’t getting paid for those,” Rawls said.

In the online petition, parents cite the lack of ability by the superintendent to negotiate fair terms with bus drivers and teachers and a violation of the “Fourteenth Amendment of the Parents Bill of Rights in the state of Indiana by not providing the right for all students to receive equal protection under the law” as reasons for her removal.

Rawls points out students are getting hurt in the process. “Tomorrow (if the students come), we’ll be having to do backup for what they missed today,” Rawls said Tuesday. “So, yes they’re getting hurt, severely.”

I-Team 8 reached out to the district to comment and did not hear back.