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Indianapolis Public Schools sees upheaval in teaching ranks

April 23, 2018

Teachers in the state’s largest district are facing significant upheaval, as Indianapolis Public Schools consolidates high schools and grapples with a steep budget deficit.

Teachers and other staff are one of the district’s biggest expenses. This year, the district expects to spend nearly $200 million on salaries and benefits for staff, the vast majority of its general fund operating budget. In the months ahead, it is uncertain what steps district leaders will take to balance the budget, but it is likely teachers will be heavily affected.

Already, IPS is seeing some of the effects of high school closings and budget woes on educators. At the beginning of this month, nearly 150 educators who were displaced by high school closings are still looking for jobs, and the district is offering teachers $20,000 to retire. The district is also planning to ask taxpayers for extra money that leaders say is essential to fund regular teacher raises.

Now is a good time to look at the district’s teaching ranks—what are their backgrounds, how high are their salaries, how much experience do they have? Here are some of the essential details pulled from state data about Indianapolis’ teachers. Information is from the first period 2017-18 Indiana Department of Education certified employee report and the 2016-17 and 2013-2014 collective bargaining reports from the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board.

From veterans to newbies

  • 241 Indianapolis Public Schools educators are in their first year—about 10 percent of the 2,497 certified employees in the district this year.
  • The school with the most first-year educators is John Marshall Middle School, where 20 educators were reported to be in their first year.
  • 34 educators have 40 or more years of experience, and 674 have 20 or more years experience.

Diploma details

  • 21 educators in Indianapolis Public Schools have doctorates, including the district’s chief, Superintendent Lewis Ferebee. At the school level, Arsenal Technical High School and Northwest High School each have three educators with doctorates.
  • 789 have master’s degrees, and 1,649 have bachelor’s degrees as their highest level of education.

Teacher pay

  • Last year, the average annual teacher salary in the district was $50,481—down about $1,900 from the average in 2013-2014. That's because the average experience level of IPS teachers has fallen, not because teacher salaries have been reduced on a individual basis.
  • IPS has been raising teacher pay. The minimum salary for educators has gone up by more than $4,000, to $40,000 since 2013-2014.
  • The district spent a total of $1,926,531 on teacher salary increases last year.

Chalkbeat is a not-for-profit news site covering educational change in public schools.

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Recent Articles by Dylan Peers McCoy, Chalkbeat Indiana

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