INDIANAPOLIS — Tuesday night, MSD of Pike Township school leaders led a community conversation to reassure parents they have the best interests of their kids in mind.
This meeting comes after a few tumultuous months where teachers and bus drivers demanded better pay from the district. When an agreement on raises couldn't be reached, coordinated call-outs led to days where classes would go virtual or be canceled.
It was a tough time for parents like Nakela Irby.
"I have a kid in school and I know the bus drivers wouldn't show up some days. We couldn't plan for it as parents. Teachers wouldn't show up some days and again, we couldn't plan for that as parents," Irby said.
Irby said she did not agree with the tactics used to force school leaders to raise pay. However, she believes it was a wake up call for the district, highlighting the need for them to do better to benefit their students.
"I want to see some more unity in the community," Irby said. "When we first moved to Pike High School, it was a community. Everybody worked together."
MSD of Pike Township school leaders said they're going to try and become the best paying school district in Marion County. To do that, they're exploring options including bringing a referendum before the voters.
"A referendum guarantees a revenue stream for eight years," Robin Winston, who's helped other school districts in the past with referendums, said. "It doesn't decrease. So, the bottom line is that's one way for us to address an equitable future for the staff and teachers.. and for the 10,000 plus kids in your school district."
"If we need to increase our taxes to help the teachers and school bus drivers and everyone else that works in our school to feel better, come to work and do their job, that's what we need to do," Irby said.
School leaders also discussed plans to hire a new superintendent.
Dr. Larry Young has been serving as interim superintendent since last month following Dr. Flora Reichanadter's resignation.
The board signaled they would like to make his position permanent in effort to bring hope and healing to the district.