FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – Fort Wayne Community Schools, the state’s largest public school district, has resisted calls all week to cancel classes a big “Red for Ed” rally in Indianapolis.
The district’s leaders, however, on Friday revealed they’ve had a change of heart on the issue.
Originally, FWCS worked with its teachers union to create a plan for teachers to attend the rally at the Statehouse and still maintain enough teachers in its buildings to hold school.
But with more than 600 teachers requesting the day off to go to Indy, and the number climbing higher all the time, school leaders reversed course.
“We understood where people were coming from, but for us, it really just got to a point where we were not sure that we could safely hold school on Tuesday,” said district spokesperson Krista Stockman.
The rally was set up by the Indiana State Teachers Association with the goal of pushing state lawmakers for teacher pay increases, boosts in school funding, and for other changes that have to do with things like cutting back on standardized testing.
The public education rally scheduled for November 19th is expected to be one of the largest ever held at the Statehouse.
Teachers face an uphill battle convincing Republican lawmakers, who control the state legislature, to adopt their pleas for change.
The “Red for Ed” Action Day rally is designed, in part, to push lawmakers to take steps to trigger pay raises for teachers that kick in before the end of the year.
“That’s not going to happen on Organization Day at the capitol, so I’m not sure what their respected leadership is telling them. I look forward to the continued dialogue with these teachers, to make sure they can teach to the best of their abilities and they have those means necessary,” said Republican State Representative Bob Morris from Fort Wayne.
Teachers are losing patience for change.
“We’d like our representatives to know that we’re kind of tired of not being fully funded, that we’re tired of the micro-management with some silly rules and regulations they keep putting in place that are actually harmful to kids and teachers, the testing is ridiculous,” said Sandra Vohs, the president of the Fort Wayne Education Association, which is the teachers union for FWCS.