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IPS support staff’s new contract gives bonuses but no raise

IPS will give bonuses to many support staffers and administrators. But AFSCME Local 661 has not ratified the contract.
IPS will give bonuses to many support staffers and administrators. But AFSCME Local 661 has not ratified the contract.
Scott Elliott

Most of the support staff that keeps Indianapolis Public Schools running each day — such as custodians, bus drivers and cafeteria workers — will earn some extra pay before the end of the year in the form of a “loyalty” bonus.

Employees who started working at the district on or before Jan. 1 will get a one-time, $1,000 bonus, according to a contract approved Tuesday between the district and AFSCME Local 661, the employees’ union.

But there will be no “step” increases, based on years experience, in a salary schedule for those workers this year. The union hasn’t seen a contract with a pay increase since 2010. The workers demonstrated at recent school board asking for raises.

Deitra Shelton, a 20-year school bus driver and supervisor for the district, told the board in July that the district seems to have forgotten about its hourly workers.

“IPS has over 2,000 employees who are the backbone of this school system,” Shelton said. “(We) love and respect educators, but both labor groups should be treated equally.”

Superintendent Lewis Ferebee remarked on Twitter today that it’s the first time since 2010 that both teachers and support staff will earn more pay because of the bonuses.

Teachers also got a modest extra this year in their new contract with the district. They won’t see across-the-board raises, but teachers rated as effective can earn a $1,500 one-time pay bonus.

The bonus for classified employees affects, among others, custodians, mechanical maintenance workers, food service workers, regular bus drivers, bus attendants and teachers’ aides.

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