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School district turns to residents to increase teacher pay

Beech Grove will ask for tax hike
Posted at 8:54 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 20:54:03-05

BEECH GROVE — The superintendent of a Marion County school district said they are losing teachers at an "unprecedented rate" and he is worried it will impact student learning.

Beech Grove Superintendent, Dr. Paul Kaiser, said he thinks teachers are leaving, in part, because other nearby districts can offer a higher salary and better benefits. He said they're not getting money from the state to incentivize teachers to stay, so instead the district will be turning to voters for support.

The district will have two referenda items on the ballot in May. One of them will address teacher pay.

Dr. Kaiser said Beech Grove used to be one of the highest paying districts in the state, but that has changed over the past 15 years. Now he says they lose about 20 teachers per year. "The state continues to underfund schools at 2 percent compared to the old days of 4 or 5 percent and also for our case it is the circuit breaker laws," said Dr. Kaiser. He said in Beech Grove those laws are costing them more than three-million dollars per year.

If approved, the operating referendum would provide a two-thousand dollar raise to teachers, a one-thousand dollar raise to staff members, and allow the district to hire additional counselors and school resource officers.

Teachers in the district tell us they’ve seen their colleagues leave for higher paying jobs and they think the salary bump would do a lot to keep them in Beech Grove.

Here is a look at the referendum proposal, provided by Beech Grove schools.

Components of the Referendum

Beech Grove City Schools will conduct an operating referendum and a capital referendum on May 5,

2020 to achieve the five (5) themes of our Strategic Plan. The operating referendum will be repealing the

existing referendum fund tax levy, and (b) replacing the existing referendum fund tax levy with a new

referendum fund tax levy that will provide for the purpose of retaining teachers and support staff, securing

safe transportation, purchasing new buses, enhancing student safety, maintaining buildings and providing

other educational and operational needs of the school corporation.

A .25 construction referendum will also be on the ballot and will focus on construction and renovations at

Hornet Park Elementary, construction and site improvements at the other four buildings in the school

district along with upgrades to our community athletic facilities.

On May 5th, we have an opportunity to make an investment in the future of our community!

The Operating Referendum question is to:

Enhance teacher salaries (Budget $2,000 per teacher) (Starting salary is now $40,375)

Enhance classified staff salary (Budget $1,000 per staff member)

Add three new counselors (HP, Central, & HS/MS)

Add three new Beech Grove School Safety Resource Officers (MS, SG, & HP/CE)

Operating Referendum Question Impact on the School and Community

Strong and viable safe schools that provide a first class education for all students

Retain our qualified and dedicated teachers

Retain our qualified and dedicated classified staff

Enhance the emotional and social learning by hiring additional counselors

Provide additional safety, counseling and additional role models for our students with new School

Safety Resource Officers

Student Safety and Counseling Services

Continue funding our Transportation Program

Place stop arm cameras on all of our school buses

Hire three additional certified school counselors or home school advisors

Hire three additional full time Beech Grove School Safety Resource Officers

The safety of our students and staff, along with the emotional and social well-being of our school

community, are critical to the success of our school family.

Board of Education

April McManus Jill Laker

Beth Prindle Jannis King

Aaron Lamb Rick Skirvin

Rob Challis

Dr. Kaiser’s Cell Phone (317) 445-6506


If approved on May 5th, Construction Project funding will be used for the following:

Construction of an Early Childhood Center (6 classrooms)

Renovations and upgrades to Hornet Park Elementary (Classrooms, HVAC, & Site)

Improvements to the kitchen at Beech Grove Middle School

Build a Greenhouse for Agri Science Program

To transform our campus at BGHS/HP to create a safe and functional site

Update the site and traffic flow pattern at BGHS and Hornet Park Elementary

Additional parking and band practice area south of BGHS

Upgrade our high school track to allow our school to host regional and state events

Upgrade the Teachers Credit Union Veterans Stadium with Turf Field for athletics/classes

Upgrade Jim Hensley Field of Dreams Baseball Stadium with Turf Field athletics/classes

Build restrooms and a concession stand at the stadium for supervision and convenience

A Greenhouse will enhance the Agri-Science curriculum

Develop facilities that are ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant

The Teachers Credit Union Veterans Stadium will receive an upgraded eight (8) lane track, along with a new

turf field. There are only two schools in Marion County that do not have upgraded turf fields. The new track

will allow us to host both conference and state track meets, along with serving as a walking track for our

community members. The Jim Hensley Field of Dreams will be upgraded to include a new turf field, along

with dugouts, concession stand, and restrooms. The upgraded fields will be utilized by the following groups

of students:

Physical Education Classes Marching Band

High School Athletic Teams Middle School Athletic Teams

Community Groups (such as Cancer Walks) Youth Teams

The upgraded fields will bring new revenue to the athletic department by hosting weekend tournaments and

also has the potential for our Marching Band to host competitions. This will bring additional visitors to

Beech Grove and will help generate revenue to our local businesses.

Overall Tax Impact Summary:

Tax Impact on the average Beech Grove home valued at $95,700:

2021 $4.99 per month Operating Question

2022 $1.97 per month Construction Question

2023 $4.27 per month Construction Question

Total $11.23 per month after three years Operating and Construction

Comparison of Tax Rate from 2007 to 2023 Summary if we “Win” the May 2020 Referendum:

2007 Tax Levy Received: $10,189,054

2023 Tax Levy Anticipated: $ 9,045,499 (This includes winning both questions in 2020)

Difference: $ 1,143,555 In 2023, BGCS will collect less than 2007

For more information about the operating referendum and the additional construction referendum that will be on the ballot in May, see the attached information sheet from the district.