LIGONIER — West Noble will close all schools this coming Tuesday for the Red for Ed educational rally in Indianapolis
Superintendent Galen Mast said he and the West Noble Classroom Teachers’ Association decided Friday morning stating a lack of substitute teachers.
Mast said several teachers had requested personal days to travel to the statehouse for the rally.
Mast chalks it up to a need to represent the district.
“Northeast Indiana does not have a large representation of schools (in Indianapolis),” he said.
Earlier statewide reports showed schools representing 40% of school enrollment will be closed for the day, largely due to the same personnel reasons West Noble is closing.
Mast said he hopes it opens the eyes for legislators to realize how tight staffing is for teachers and subs alike.
“I think our legislature is going to have a reaction to this, because they understand there is a real sub shortage,” he said.
Probably the biggest issue for West Noble that Mast thinks his district’s teachers will rally for is a system for levels of pay for staff.
“I think the number one thing that needs to happen in Indiana for public education is we need to reinstate the levels for teachers,” Mast said.
If pay levels are implemented, Mast said, they would help to keep teacher wages from stagnating a few years into their careers and ultimately aid in retaining talent.
He said he realizes the rally might seem like teachers leaving school to ask for money. But that notion is false, he said, since higher pay for teachers directly ensures quality educators are in classrooms.
For example, Mast said hiring for a fourth-grade teacher position 10 years ago would net about 40 applicants. Now, the same job posting attracts maybe two candidates, of which one is actually qualified.
“The quality of the person who you put in front of your child is everything,” Mast said. “It really is about the kids.”
West Noble will tack an extra day onto the end of the school year to make up for this lost day.
The only other nearby district known to be closing at this time is Fort Wayne Community Schools.