INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Educators applauded the approval of a bargaining agreement that resulted in the largest teacher pay increase in the history of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).
The district’s Board of School Commissioners voted unanimously to ratify a two-year agreement with the Indianapolis Education Association (IEA) during a work session Tuesday night at Arlington Middle School.
The agreement increases starting pay and maximum pay for teachers, and includes a minimum raise of $2,600.
The union represents more than 1,500 teachers employed by IPS; the number of teachers eligible for raises had yet to be determined Tuesday.
Raises will be calculated based on “effectiveness, years of service and high-need subject areas,” according to a district press release.
Commissioners also unanimously approved a two-year agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
Contract provisions include salary increases ranging from 1.4% to 7.4% for IPS custodians, food service workers and bus drivers.
Raises for eligible IEA and AFSCME members employed by IPS are expected to take effect by Dec. 31, 2019.
The total estimated investment in the agreements with the two labor unions exceeds $31 million, according to commissioners.
The funding was made possible by a $220 million referendum passed by voters in November 2018.
“Increasing pay for our teachers was our top priority,” IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said during a news conference following the work session. “We started the increases last year in hopes of continuing them. When the community voted ‘yes’ on the referendum, it allowed us to keep that promise.”
Tina Ahlgren, a longtime IPS teacher and IEA bargaining chair, called Tuesday’s vote a “victory” for union members.
Several colleagues seeking more competitive compensation had previously considered leaving IPS to accept offers from other school districts, Ahlgren told News 8.
Ratification of the new agreement would afford them the opportunity to base their career decisions on more than merely financial incentives, she said.
“I’ve gotten to talk to all of these educators and cry these happy tears with people who really feel like, for the first time, [it’s] a long-term option for them to stay as IPS teachers,” Ahlgren said.
Increasing pay with the goal of improving teacher retention would also have a positive impact on students, Johnson added.
“There are very real impacts on the ability of a student to make progress academically when you have a strong teacher in front of them every single day,” she said.
IEA CONTRACT HIGHLIGHTS
-Estimated investment: $30 million
-New salary ranges raise starting pay and maximum pay
-Year 1: $45,200 to $82,800
-Year 2: $47,800 to $90,000
-Minimum raise: $2,600
-Maximum raise: Year 1 – $9,400; Year 2 – $4,200
AFSCME CONTRACT HIGHLIGHTS
-Estimated investment: $1.2 million
-Raises for all groups based on market adjustment
-Custodial: 7.4% raise (average increase of $2,350)
-Food service: 1.4% raise (average increase of $450)
-Paraprofessional: 3.7% raise (average increase of $1,100)
-Transportation: 2.7% raise (average increase of $1,000)