INDIANAPOLIS – Thursday night was an emotional MSD Pike Township school board meeting as negotiations continue about teacher and staff pay. Teachers directly asking board members, how much longer this will go on?
The cafeteria at Central Elementary School was filled with teachers, staff and people who live in Pike Township. They wanted to get answers to their questions.
“I want to know how many of you who are sitting up here on this board is really working for us?” asked one person in attendance.
A teacher added, “We want people to stay in Pike and we want teachers to feel valued in Pike.”
They believe, that’s not the case right now. As the school board and the Pike Classroom Teachers Association (PCTA) is currently in the middle of contract negotiations which has led to recurring staff absences.
As we’ve reported, several times the district had to close or move to remote learning.
“Pay these teachers, pay these bus drivers, pay everyone,” stated Raul Lopez, a student in Pike Township schools, “Because they deserve it.”
Lopez is proud to be a Pike student, but all of this has led him to make the difficult decision to enroll in another nearby district. When he announced this during the meeting, the crowd was visibly upset.
“It is uncomfortable for me to stay in a district that doesn’t pay the teachers an equitable amount,” Lopez said.
School Board President, Terry Webster says while it’s taken time, the negotiations are moving forward.
“It’s all of our employees that we want to make sure we’re fair and offering our best,” said Webster, “It’s been sometimes frustrating, but we look like we’re getting to the finish line now and it looks like our contract should be hopefully, prayerfully, ratified pretty soon.”
While Webster wouldn’t disclose the amount of money the district has discussed, he says there is a tentative agreement.
“We’re proud of Pike and we’ll continue to go forward,” Webster asking parents and community members, “Continue to put your trust in us.”
Trust is something, some people are having trouble with. As more teachers and staff members announce their resignation, the Pike Classroom Teachers Association held a vote asking, “Do the teachers of Pike Township have confidence in Dr. Flora Reichanadter to fulfill her leadership role as the Superintendent of MSD of Pike Township?”
President of PCTA, Chris Ludy read the question aloud to the meeting, along with the results. He stated that one percent of respondents said yes, 99% said no.
While negotiations continue both sides can agree, they need to do what’s best for students.
“Something special exists in this district,” said one teacher who spoke during the meeting.
We also learned that the school board is planning to meet again on Monday to discuss the terms of the teacher collective bargaining agreement.
Here’s the official announcement: