Indianapolis Public Schools board signs off on $31 million in raises for teachers, support staff

Indianapolis Public Schools has approved $31.2 million in raises over the next two years for teachers and support staff. The school board voted unanimously to approve the salary increases at a Tuesday evening meeting.

A 2018 voter-backed referendum funded this latest round of pay increases. Some teachers will see their salaries go up by as much as $9,400 this year, a significant increase designed to account for years of recession-era pay freezes.

Starting teachers salaries will go up by more than $2,600 to $45,200 in 2019-2020. The top of the current scale will rise to $82,800, up from $74,920. During the second year of the contract, pay for starting teachers is set to increase to $47,800 and the top of the scale would reach $90,000. The contract, which the Indianapolis Education Association negotiated, covers roughly 1,900 educators. 

Support staff represented by AFSCME Local 661 will also receive pay increases, ranging from an average of $450 for food service workers to an average of $2,350 for custodians. 

All of the pay raises will be retroactive to July 2019. 

“We talk a lot about teachers and educators, but it’s a school family,” said Indianapolis Public Schools  Board President Michael O’Connor. “The board is committed to making sure all of our school family feels appreciated and compensated fairly.”

Tina Ahlgren, a teachers union negotiator and district math teacher, has been fighting for years to ensure pay in the district is competitive with nearby school systems. 

“For me, it’s always been about teacher retention and wanting the best people in front of our students,” Ahlgren said. “Our students deserve the best in the city.”

The size of each teachers raise will depend on their evaluations and experience, as well as whether they have a high-demand focus, such as special education.

Leaders expect the raises to help boost teacher and staff retention across the district. 

“When you are putting in a classroom a teacher who feels valued through their compensation … there are very real impacts on the ability of a student to make progress academically,” said Superintendent Aleesia Johnson.