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Teachers sue 3 Indiana school districts, seek raises

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Teachers have filed separate lawsuits against three Indiana school districts, alleging that they haven't been given pay raises they are entitled to under contracts that expired at the end of the last school year.

The dispute stems from changes by the Legislature earlier limiting collective bargaining agreements between local districts and teachers' unions. The school districts contend the teachers aren't entitled to the raises under the new law. Eric Hylton, an attorney for the Indiana State Teachers Association who filed the lawsuits on behalf of the teachers, contends the teachers' contracts expired before the new law took effect, so they are entitled to the raises.

The lawsuits were filed last month against the Huntington County Community School Corp., about 35 miles southeast of Fort Wayne; the Noblesville Schools Board, about 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis; and the Madison Consolidated Schools Board, about 50 miles northeast of Louisville. Hylton said he isn't aware of any other possible similar lawsuits.

The school districts have not yet filed their responses.

Huntington schools Superintendent Tracey Shafer said the new law prohibits a district from entering into a contract that results in a general fund deficit, which is what the district would be doing if it paid the increases.

"It specifically prohibits the payment of automatic raises based on seniority," Shafer said. "We cannot legally do that."

He said the district has been facing declining revenue and enrollment in recent years and last year cut $2 million and closed two schools. He said it is unfortunate the district will have to spend money to defend the lawsuit that would have otherwise been available to pay teachers.

Messages seeking comment were left Friday by The Associated Press at the offices of David Day, the attorney for the Noblesville schools, and Madison schools Superintendent Thomas Patterson.

Hylton contends in the lawsuit that the expired contracts gives teachers yearly salary increases for each additional year they teach up to and including their 19th year of teaching.

"Our position is, at the beginning of the school year the teachers should have received their increment as stated in the expired collective bargaining agreement. That's the way it's always been done in the past under the old law," Hylton said.

The new contracts the teachers eventually have with the school districts will have a different salary structure, Hylton said.

"But our position is that until that new collective bargaining agreement is agreed to by the parties, the teachers are required to be provided that step increment," he said.

Hylton is seeking class-action status, meaning that although only several teachers are named in the lawsuits, the legal cases would cover most teachers in those districts if granted.

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  • Dan
    I think Dan has pointed out 1 specific person he knows, but the administrator mentioned is NOT an accurate representation of every teacher.

    My school district does not give the teachers that many days off, nor do they only work 8-3.

    Teachers also have to pay out of pocket to further their education and have to attend several meetings on their own time.

    Please don't generalize based on 1 person you know. Spend ONE DAY in an actual school... see what is expected of teachers before you judge them.
  • Dan, Dan, Dan
    I don't believe what you said is true. There are no teachers who work only from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m., unless that teacher is a scheduled part time teacher (some music and art teachers may be part time).
  • It's just not fair anymore
    Our neighbor is an IPS administrator off for Fall Break (for two weeks). Then she gets off (two weeks) around Christmas, (two weeks) for Spring Break and has two months off in the Summer. That's a total of 15 weeks, before personal days, which leaves a working year of 36 weeks (180 days),which is the statutory minimum. She pays (almost) nothing for health insurance (for the whole family). And after all of that, she can retire with almost her whole salary of around $75K.

    Usually she goes in at 8:00 and is home by 2:00 or 3:00. I begrudge nobody -- more power to her, but you and I pay for all of that cushy stuff. In the private sector she would have been gone years ago.

    Union folks -- do you ever wonder why working class people can't afford you anymore? We don't make anything like that.
  • Greed
    That's what this is, greed in its simplest form. Teachers want more because they think they deserve it? They refuse to allow the state or school systems devise ways to measure their performance...and they want more.
  • Me too
    I on Social Security, and I want a raise, for the past two years. Heck I should have over $700,000 in my "lock box". When I opened it all I got was IOU's from the teachers pensions? A lie is a lie! Fire them and get a grandma. It can't get any worse.

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