INDIANAPOLIS — The teachers at MSD of Pike Schools are one step closer to having a new collective bargaining agreement after months of rallies and stalled negotiations.
Monday, the Pike Board of Education held a specially called meeting for the tentative agreement to be presented to the public and for board members to ask questions.
”The board was asking great questions, you can see that they are interested,” said Pike Classroom Teacher’s Association President Chris Ludy.
Ludy and others from the PCTA have spent months negotiating with Pike Administration to get to this point.
Pike Board of Education President Terry Webster said it is refreshing to be where they are at after all of the distractions during the process.
”We’re finally glad to get to this point, it’s been a long road,” Webster said.
Two steps toward making the new collective bargaining agreement were made Monday. The first was making sure members of the PCTA approved.
”There were a lot of questions,” said Ludy.
He met with hundreds of PCTA members Monday afternoon to go over the agreement, which was ultimately passed.
”It ratified by a large margin, 90% to 10% , so that says everything,” Ludy said.
The agreement, if passed, would be for one year.
”We see a path forward that this agreement gives us a foundation to work forward,” he said.
The details of the new contracts were then presented by members of Pike Administration to the Pike Board of Education, followed by questions from the board. All in all, the meeting took about 45 minutes.
Highlights on the new contract include an average 5.2% raise, and more than $1.2 million in stipends handed out to teachers. On top of this, teachers will get better compensation for working an athletic event or filling in when a classroom needs a teacher. Ludy said changes like these are important.
”Being able to be compensated more for covering a class is a huge deal,” he said.
Teachers who use their plan period to step in and cover a class will now be paid $25 each time. Before this was a system of comp time that teachers could reimburse for pay or sick time. When staff members work an athletic event, they can be $20 to $40 for a middle school event and $25 to $50 for a high school event.
Webster looks forward to being done with the distraction these negotiations created.
”We’re at the point now where we can settle the temperature and the teachers can get back to the business at hand,” he said.
”We’ve been on the media, it looks like crazy things are happening in Pike, but this is a great place to live, a great place to raise your family, a great place to work, a great place to teach,” he said.
Throughout this process, teachers have made their frustrations with the school board evident through multiple rallies and days of dozens of teachers calling out. Webster hopes this contract sends a positive message to them.
”We value them, we care about them, we think they are front line workers,” Webster said. “We want them to be at Pike For as long as they want to be at Pike, we want them to retire from Pike,” said Webster.
Pike parents and students have also made their voices heard. Some students even saying they planned to leave the district due to the ongoing contract negotiations.
”We would hope it would send a message to our parents that, again, Pike is a community of excellence and parents who are moving out that’s certainly on them, but they can still come to Pike, move into Pike and get an A1 quality education,” Webster said.
The next step will be for the board to vote to approve the contract at another specially called meeting Thursday.
”Absolutely, I believe it is going to pass on Thursday,” said Webster.
One member of the Pike Board of Education who was noticeably absent Monday was Superintendent Dr. Flora Reichanadter. At a meeting last week, Ludy presented a survey saying 99% of PCTA members asked say they do not have confidence in Reichanadter as superintendent. On top of that, earlier this year, Pike parents started a petition calling for her to resign.
Webster said he would not comment on Reichanadter’s future with the school system.