Deal between IPS and its union means big pay raises for teachers

Every Indianapolis Public Schools teacher will make at least $40,000 — a 12 percent jump for those at the bottom of the scale — if the teachers and school board both vote to approve a contract to which the district and its union have tentatively agreed.

The tentative deal was published on the district’s website today as part of tonight’s school board agenda. If the board approves it, the contract will be complete. Teachers have already ratified it. The board meets at 6 p.m.

After five years of contracts that have mostly followed the same general design but have not included pay raises for most teachers, the new contract would be a huge shift toward the sort of new thinking about educator roles that school board members have said they wanted.

Raising the bottom base pay, for example would give an instant pay raise to hundreds of teachers. But there also are raises of up to 10 percent for teachers mid-career, a point when many leave IPS for jobs in other districts. Even teachers at the top of the scale would see a raise of up to 2.9 percent.

It also offers big stipends — up to $18,300 — for teachers that play leadership roles, such as mentoring other teachers.

How the cash-strapped district will pay for the plan is not yet clear. But the contract includes a few hints, and one of them could mean a lot more low-rated teachers.

The contract says the new pay system assumes 15 percent of teachers will not be rated effective, blocking them from receiving pay raises. The money for the raises they would have received instead would go to pay the teachers who are rated effective.

But the contract also says the district will use reserve funds for raises if fewer than 15 percent are rated not effective.

Over the past two years since Indiana shifted its teacher evaluation system to include annual reviews, student test scores and other factors, hardly any teachers statewide have been rated ineffective.