In November, Indianapolis Public Schools commissioners voted to approve a contract negotiation between IPS and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the union that represents non-certified employees. To show that we value our hardworking and dedicated employees, a loyalty bonus stipend will be distributed to each eligible employee, today, December 18, 2015! 


Loyalty Bonus Q&A with IPS Chief Financial Manager Weston Young


Who is eligible for the loyalty bonus?

To be eligible for the bonus being distributed on December 18, 2015, you must be an employee who was employed before July 1, 2014 and was still employed as of December 1, 2015. This includes any employee in the AFSCME bargaining unit- bus drivers, media assistants, Special Education assistants, custodial staff, food service workers, mechanical/maintenance workers, etc. Despite $11 million less in funding this year, IPS wants employees to know that we value their service to our students and families; and we are committed to maintaining wages at comparative rates amongst area school districts.


“There were a lot of bus drivers that didn’t know they were getting the bonus, it was a really nice surprise, right on time,” says Bus Driver Christine Mathis.


Why loyalty bonuses instead of pay raises?

Instead of an increase on base employment wages, IPS is offering stipends. This method of compensation increase allows employees to receive a higher take-home amount and it prevents the district from making commitments to employees regarding an increase on base wages that could potentially not be met in the future. We took into consideration the uncertainty of economic conditions and revenue streams coming into the district and determined in agreement with AFSCME that this was the better approach to demonstrate appreciation for our employees.


How much are the loyalty bonuses?

The loyalty bonus for 2015 is $1250, which is equal to an 11.9% pay raise for an IPS employee whose pay rate is near the average wage range for those represented by the AFSCME bargaining unit. In addition to the $1,250 bonus, there’s a strategic bonus of $500 being distributed to Special Education teaching assistants, to show appreciation for their work and also focus in on an area in which it is often difficult to retain quality staff. At the agenda review session on December 15, the Board voted and approved a loyalty bonus for employees who remain employed with the district as of July 1, 2016 and do not receive disciplinary action between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016. The loyalty bonus in the amount of $1500 will be distributed to eligible employees after July 1, 2016.


“The loyalty bonus is wonderful, it couldn’t have come at a better time, whatever someone gives you is a blessing,” says Bus Attendant Diane Motley.


Are there changes to employee benefits?

Beginning January 1, 2016, employee healthcare insurance benefits transitions to Anthem BlueCross BlueShield. The loyalty bonuses that employees are receiving are not being offset by any health insurance rate increases. The conversion to Anthem BlueCross BlueShield as our provider will expand the services available to employees to ensure higher quality and closer proximity of healthcare options.


“When Dr. Ferebee was negotiating these agreements with the bargaining unit it was apparent to me that he deeply cares for all employees, and desires to reward them in a sustainable way. As a new employee to the district it was an honor to sit beside him and give advice during this pivotal time for our district. We are tackling some very strategic initiatives for the future of IPS,” says IPS Chief Financial Manager Weston Young.