INDIANAPOLIS — If you talk to any teacher, they'll probably tell you their workload is growing and their pay isn't. That is the reminder teachers in Warren Township sent to their school board Wednesday night.
In a sea of red, educators are making sure their needs in the classroom are not forgotten as money from a 2018 referendum enters the district's budget with an original promise that teachers would see some of that money.
"Keep the promise is asking our board members to use the referendum money that they said when they were selling the referendum to the public, that part of the money would go to salary retention and attraction of new teachers," teacher union president Jenny Whitaker said.
Nicole Dofour is a seventh grade language arts teacher, but she said her list of job titles seems to grow longer by the year.
"So the role of a teacher comes last to the role of a social worker, mediator, a counselor, a family member and any other role that you could throw in there teaching comes last because we have to do all of these other things first," Dofour said.
Dofour is among the teachers asking the school board to give the educators of Warren Township a competitive salary, a payment to reflect the work they still have to do after the bell rings.
"Because I'm usually there at 8:30 (a.m.) when I'm supposed to be, and I probably leave around 9:30 (p.m.) and I have two children and a husband, who's a firefighter. I'm giving my life to the school, and I'm choosing to do that, but I need some money," Dofour said.
At the school board meeting, Whitaker reminded the board that teachers in the district are leaving their Warren Township classrooms for neighboring districts where they said they can make $10,000 more for doing the same job.
Earlier this year, education advocacy groups estimated Indiana schools would need a 9% funding increase to pay teachers salaries that are comparable to neighboring states. Hundreds of teachers rallied and protested at the Statehouse. The budget eventually passed by lawmakers in April provides a 2.7% increase.
"Our teachers are doing more with less and that is not a Warren only issue, but we are worried about our Warren people and in order to keep them and feel respected that is going to come with some money," Whitaker said.