GOSHEN — Goshen Community Schools is the latest school district in Elkhart County to join a growing list of districts statewide that will close Nov. 19 so that teachers can participate in the Red for Ed Action Day in Indianapolis.
In a news release issued Friday, the school corporation said the number of staff members planning to attend the Call to Action Day is high enough that the district is unable to procure sufficient substitute teachers for the day in order to have “a safe and productive day of instruction.”
“GCS appreciates the support from the Goshen community with the passing of an operating referendum to help offset the lack of funding GCS receives from the state of Indiana,” the school corporation said in a statement. “However, the GCS staff is planning to attend the event in Indianapolis to stand up for all public education in the state.”
“Traditional public schools in Indiana have not been adequately funded, while charter schools and vouchers have seen increases in funding. GCS should not have to ask the community for a referendum in order to help pay teachers better salaries and to keep class sizes at manageable levels, but with the significant funding losses GCS has experienced, there was no choice.”
Organized by the Indiana State Teachers Association, Red for Ed Action Day is designed to encourage state legislators to boost funding for teacher salaries and to promote education. Nov. 19 is the General Assembly’s Organization Day.
So far, more than 7,000 teachers statewide have signed up to attend, according to the ISTA.
Melissa Mitchell, co-president of the Goshen Education Alliance, said in an email that about 77 percent of the corporation’s staff have indicated that they would be attending the teacher lobbying event with numbers continuing to grow.
She said the association hopes by showing large numbers that it will encourage legislators to fix the funding issues for public education and support their teachers.
“The past 10 years have been very hard on many school districts across the state as they have seen millions of dollars cut from their budget,” she said. “This has resulted in more districts having to ask for referendums to keep things running. We are fortunate and our community supported us but we shouldn’t have to ask our community to do this. It also means limited raises for all staff. We are asking the legislators to use some of the surplus to help Indiana teachers’ salaries be competitive with our neighboring states so we can keep great teachers in our classrooms and staff in our buildings.”
The district’s make-up day will be Feb.14.
Other school corporations in Elkhart County have announced that they will be closed include Elkhart Community Schools, Concord Community Schools and Baugo Community Schools.