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Indianapolis Public Schools invests $15 million in American Rescue Plan funds to new employee incentives

Posted at 7:06 PM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 19:06:06-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools is offering new incentives to teachers and staff district-wide.

The district has dedicated $15 million dollars to pay bonuses, provide free mental health resources, and flextime planning for teachers.

The incentives are funded by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, part of the American Rescue Plan.

It's something Jack Kellerman, a math teacher within the district, says is beneficial for young professionals.

"These last two years have been hard and I think those are three things teachers have flagged for IPS,” said Kellerman. “It's amazing to see them be as proactive as well as responsive."

The flextime hours will give teachers time for professional development that they can use to work from home for certain parts of their day. Many teachers feel this is necessary to keep teachers in the field.

"So, a lot of it is kind of creating the bridge of how teachers take on more than just classroom opportunities,” said Kellerman. “I know it's also something a lot of young professionals are getting right out of college so it's also to be proactive in terms of the teacher pipeline."

The free mental health care service the district is providing will be through Talkspace, a largely online mental health service. Adding these resources is something both the district and staff say will also benefit students.

"For teachers to be their best selves and to give kids the best teachers in the classroom, their cups have to be full,” said Kellerman. “I think IPS understanding that and investing in teachers and their wellness will pay dividends in student outcomes in the long run."

The school support bonus will provide all staff with an additional $1,500 during the fall 2022 semester, $1,000 during the spring 2023 semester, and $1,500 during the fall 2023 semester.