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ECS Superintendent Says Referendum Will Improve Teacher Salaries And Benefits

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Elkhart Community Schools

In a little more than a month, voters in the Elkhart Community Schools district will vote whether to pass a $122 million referendum. 

Speaking at the Kiwanis Club of Elkhart Tuesday afternoon, ECS Superintendent Steve Thalheimer said the referendum is necessary to improve teacher salaries and benefits, as well as to renew the district’s current transportation referendum.


He said the district has made almost $2 million worth of administrative cuts, but it still can’t afford to pay teachers a competitive salary, leading to high turnover rates among teachers and staff.


“Ninety percent of our costs are people costs," Thalheimer said. "My argument has been that we always need to work on people because the educational outcomes will follow.”


The Elkhart Common Council proposed a resolution supporting the referendum earlier this month, but it was ultimately withdrawn from the agenda.


The school district will hold a series of town halls to answer questions about the referendum, the first of which will take place next week:


  • Tuesday, March 30th, 6:30 PM: Bristol Elementary School
    705 Indiana St., Bristol

  • Wednesday, March 31st, 6:30 PM: Pierre Moran Middle School
    200 W Lusher Ave., Elkhart

  • Thursday, April 22nd, 6:30 PM: Elkhart High School East
    1 Blazer Blvd, Elkhart

  • Thursday, April 29th, 6:30 PM: Elkhart High School West
    2608 California Rd, Elkhart 

WVPE is a listener-member supported service of the Elkhart Community Schools.


Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.


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Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.