INDIANAPOLIS (June 1, 2015) - They're tasked with equipping future leaders with the tools they need to survive, but IPS teachers are among the lowest paid in central Indiana. They say it's time for a change.
"As much as we love it, it's really hard to be an IPS teacher when you know that other districts nearby have sometimes more resources and a higher salary," said IPS 2014 Teacher of the Year, Tina Ahlgren.
Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee says he's heard this message loud and clear. Some teachers say educators in other districts make $10,000 more than their base salary.
"Not having an opportunity to have access to a raise to address cost of living for them and their families. I am proud to be the superintendent apart of a team that is finally addressing this issue and getting it done," said Ferebee.
The state budget slashed IPS funding by more than $14 million. So in order to pay teachers more, the district will have to make cuts to other areas and lean on the community for support.
"We're going to have to partner with the community with our workforce and everyone else to figure other ways to become more efficient as a school district so we can continue to pay our teachers and support staff a competitive salary," said Sam Odle, school board vice president.
Although teachers welcome the news of a raise next year, they're not celebrating just yet.
"I'm really cautious about it because what did they cut like $18 million so we got to be realistic it's not going to be off the roof and not everyone is making a $100,000 we want to see where teachers can see something on their pay check," said Rhondalyn Cornett, president of the teacher's union.
The board begins negotiations with the teacher's union this summer. Exact terms in the new agreement, including the raise, are expected in August.