IPS begins negotiations for teacher raises after voters approve extra funding

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Negotiations to give Indianapolis Public Schools teachers a raise are underway just one day after voters approved hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding for the district.

People who live within IPS boundaries made their support for the school system clear at the polls. The two school referendums passed with more than 70 percent of those who cast their ballots voting yes.

"This is a win for the children of Indianapolis Public Schools," said Superintendent Lewis Ferebee. "We are also excited about the margin of victory."

The referendums will bring $272 million to the district.

The capital projects referendum is set to provide $52 million for improvements to technology and security at schools.

"Allowing us to make critical updates to our building for safety and security at a time when that is top of mind for many families," Ferebee said.

The operating referendum will provide $220 million, over eight years, for teacher raises and special education programs.

"We are reminded that our work still continues," Ferebee said. "We have a lot more to do. "We know the public will be looking to us to be responsible with these resources."

Groups like the IPS Community Coalition say they hope to see the money go to the promised areas.

"We’re going to follow the money very closely and we’re going to push administration to spell it out for everyone what they’re going to be doing with hundreds of millions of dollars for both capital and operations," said Charity Scott, a member of the IPS Community Coalition and a former teacher.

As part of the campaign for the referendums, IPS reached an agreement with the Indy Chamber to take serious cost-cutting steps. Additional school closures could happen down the road. But, Ferebee said more research is needed before those decisions are made.

"I don’t anticipate us getting into those discussions until we have further analysis into enrollment and potential redistricting that would occur," he said.