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TIMELINE: Pike Township, teachers union at impasse over contract negotiations

Posted at 2:24 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 14:24:35-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The deadline for school districts and teacher unions to reach a deal on new contracts passed on Monday.

MSD of Pike Township and Pike Classroom Teachers Association could not come to an agreement. They're waiting to hear from a third-party mediator.

WRTV has followed this situation since late September when community members started sounding the alarm about issues in the district.

Below is a timeline of events that led to this point.

September 27, 28
MSD of Pike Township turns to eLearning after they don't have enough bus drivers to take kids to and from school. While bus driver salaries are not tied to teacher contract negotiations, they would inevitably be lumped together when teachers protested for what they say is better compensation.

RELATED | Bus driver shortage leads to eLearning days for Pike Township students

October 14, 15
Teachers and their supporters rallied outside Pike's administrative building ahead of a board meeting on Oct. 14. Chris Ludy, the teachers union president, said they were trying to work in good faith with the district and not asking for a huge raise.

"I do not know a single teacher who went into this profession to be rich. We knew when we came into this profession that we were not going to be millionaires, but when teachers are having to pay for their own supplies in many cases, they simply need to be compensated that matches other school," Ludy said.

At a school board meeting that night, members of the community shared their support for the teachers and bus drivers.

"It makes no sense that these bus drivers and teachers are working their fannies off to make sure the kids do what y'all expect them to do but yet, you'd rather take away from them," a community member with ties to the district said.

Superintendent Dr. Flora Reichanadter responded to the concerns on how they're paying their staff.

"Unfortunately, it takes a little more time than people are giving us right now. We just ask that people give us patience but we also have live within our means because as a school district, we cannot go into deficit spending," she said.

The next day, another eLearning day was called due to a bus driver shortage.

RELATED | Teachers, bus drivers demand better pay from MSD of Pike Township

October 28
Fresh off their fall break, Pike Townships teachers were back protesting on Oct. 28. Union president Chris Ludy shared this update.

"The administration has not moved a penny in over a month. If they came up and we come down, I'm not saying meet in the middle, I'm saying if we can continue to negotiate and bargain, there's a deal to be had," Ludy said.

However, as negotiations stretched in November, it was clear an agreement could not be meet.

November 10, 11
Pike Schools were closed Nov. 10 because around one-seventh of the school's instructional staff called off work.

The next day, the district had to move their board meeting because due to community interest. Teachers and community members alike stressed to the board, paying their staff is key to people at Pike Township.

"My name is on the resignation list tonight. I took a job in Washington Townships, our neighboring district, for a 23% pay raise," Terry Mitchell, a former Pike teacher, said at that meeting.

RELATED | Washington Township approves record high raises for teachers, school employees

November 16
MSD of Pike Township students have an eLearning day due to a lack of school bus drivers.