MUNCIE, Ind. — Teachers at Muncie Community Schools will now all make at least $6,000 more than last school year.

It’s a part of the largest raises in district history and what school board leadership said is a show of appreciation to longtime teachers and a move to attract new teachers to Muncie.

For teachers who have been in MCS for nearly a decade, the news was a big surprise.

”I honestly jumped up and did a happy dance,” said Debbie Mizelle, a music teacher at Northside Middle School who will start her 10th year there in the fall.

”Shock, shock and awe really,” said James Foster Jr., a science teacher at Northside Middle School.

Foster and his wife both work in MCS, so for their family the raise is even more impactful.

”It’s definitely going to make our vacations better, that’s for sure,” Foster said, with a laugh.

Here is a look at how the raises will be structured beginning in the 2022-2023 school year:

  • 1 – 4 years of teaching experience:  $6,800
  • 5 – 10 years of teaching experience:  $7,200
  • 5 – 10 years of teaching experience with 5+ years at MCS:  $7,700
  • 11 – 19 years of teaching experience:  $7,700
  • 11 – 19 years of teaching experience with 5+ years at MCS:  $8,200
  • 20+ years of teaching experience: $6,800
  • 20+ years of teaching experience with 5+ years at MCS:  $7,300

The school system is rewarding teachers who have shown loyalty to the system over the last several years.

”We made it a priority to see what we could do that would be meaningful, fair and equitable to all of our teachers,” said MCS School Board member Mark Ervin.

Starting salaries for new teachers has also been raised from $42,000 to $48,000. Ervin said the board knows this will make MCS more attractive for teachers just starting out.

”We hope it says, ‘Muncie is a place I would like to be, it’s exciting, there are good things happening,’” Ervin said.

MCS has been through some tough times. Prior to 2018 and the beginning of a partnership with Ball State University, teachers did not see a raise for several years.

”It was rough for awhile, the atmosphere wasn’t good, teachers didn’t feel as appreciated,” Mizelle said.

Foster said it was a time when he considered going to another school.

”It was a challenge,” he said. “I’ll be honest there were times when I was looking around to see if there might be something beneficial to me and my family elsewhere but I decided to stick it out and here we are.”

It’s a decision he’s happy he made.

”This is a community, this is where I live, so I wanted to stick around for them,” Foster said.

After the partnership with Ball State University began, teachers then begin to see more raises, but a pandemic quickly followed.

”It was rough. Teaching from home, trying to get the kids engaged over a computer, trying to keep them focused, while they have the things going on in the background,” Foster said.

For teachers who have stuck around through all of that like Foster and Mizelle, the school board wanted to show them appreciaition.

”It’s really important for us to show their leap of faith can be rewarded,” Ervin said.

The raises will cost Muncie Schools $2.4 million. Ervin said it comes from management of funds, state funding and government COVID relief money.

Also starting next year, a new recognition for the “Teacher of the Year” at each school. Ervin said they have set aside $12,000 to help recognize the best of the best teachers.