Muncie school proposal calls for massive cuts in teacher pay, concerns of closing schools

Under a school district proposal, Muncie teachers are being asked to take massive cuts to both pay and benefits in an effort to resolve the district's financial difficulties. (WISH photo)

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — Under a school district proposal, Muncie teachers are being asked to take massive cuts to both pay and benefits in an effort to resolve the district’s financial difficulties.

The proposed salary cuts run between 10 to 20 percent of teacher wages and benefits depending on how much they earn.

The teachers are also being asked to pay back the district retroactively and forgo their final two paychecks at the end of the school year, according to a copy of a “last best offer” narrative being proposed by the Muncie Community Schools central office, which was obtained by I-Team 8 from the state.

Teachers and the district have been stuck at an impasse over a new contract since last fall.

A state arbitrator heard from both sides Thursday night at a fact-finding meeting at Southside Middle School.

No resolution was expected Thursday night.

“We are proposing cuts, but those cuts have to be livable, and the ones being proposed by the school corporation will force teachers to have to leave Muncie and go work elsewhere,” said Pat Kennedy with the Muncie Teachers Association.

Kennedy would not offer specifics on her group’s proposed cuts.

I-Team 8 attempted to interview Superintendent Steven Baule but we were told he was not available before the Thursday meeting.

Pinning down the exact deficit has been difficult.

A district spokeswoman refused to discuss it prior to a fact-finding hearing Thursday night among the state arbitrator, the Muncie Teachers’ Association and the Muncie Community Schools superintendent and district administrators.

While pinning down the school district’s exact deficit has been difficult – simply put – the district is simply spending more than it is taking in.

And there are concerns that teacher pay cuts, and consolidating or closing schools may be part of the solution.

A copy of the proposal obtained by I-Team 8 shows that the district says if the current pay structure remains unchanged it would cost the district $29 million. The district only has $23 million, creating a $6 million financing deficit, the narrative states.

This story will be updated.

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