Muncie teachers, parents rally ahead of board of trustees meeting

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MUNCIE, Ind. — Teachers in Muncie Community Schools still haven’t been able to reach an agreement with the school district on their contracts. The negotiation reached a boiling point Tuesday night as teachers and community members rallied ahead of a board of trustees meeting.

They lined the streets sharing messages of concern and support.

“We’re concerned about our teachers and we want to make sure that they’re treated fairly,” Elizabeth Piazza, a parent, said.

“We don’t have the money but hopefully we can show them enough love and support that they can go through the year really positively,” Ari Hurwitz, another parent, said.

Among the issues driving the crowd was teachers’ pay.

“The board’s proposal would be life changing and for this community because it will drive teachers out of Muncie,” Pat Kennedy, president of the Muncie Teacher’s Association, said.

“I’ve seen the numbers on those proposed cuts and teachers would still be getting paid more than the schools around us,” Robert Warrner, the vice president of the Muncie Community Schools Board of Trustees, said.

The teachers and district haven’t reached an agreement on their contract.

“We are reaching a deadline pushing toward a fact finding hearing possibly within two weeks,” Kennedy said. “And that’s a very serious matter because then the state makes the decision as to what the settlement of the contract will be.”

Warrner said they’re doing everything they can to get a contract as soon as possible.

“I think unfortunately we have no real choice, the budget is really brutal here we have a lot of things unique to Muncie,” he said in reference to any possible pay cuts.

Muncie teachers said the issues they’re concerned with go beyond the classroom, though.

“This rally is all about saving our community. If you don’t have good schools in your community you can’t get any kind of businesses here and help the economy to grow,” teacher Vicki Jeffers said.

The district said it will have mediation with the teacher’s association Wednesday.