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More schools plan to close as more teachers sign up for Red for Ed protest

Tuesday's Red for Ed protest at the Indiana Statehouse appears to be getting bigger by the day.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Tuesday's Red for Ed protest at the Indiana State house appears to be getting bigger by the day.

The Indiana State Teacher's Association now expects more than 13,000 teachers to attend. More than 100 school corporations are closing by choice or out of necessity.

Thousands of teachers will protest at the statehouse for Red for Ed Action day on Nov. 19. (WTHR/VanWyk)

If the numbers hold up, Red for Ed Action Day will be six or seven times bigger than the teachers' last protest. That's surprising to even union leaders.

"This demonstrates to you how seriously educators are taking this," said ISTA Vice President Jennifer Smith-Margraf. "This is not a decision teachers take lightly to leave the classroom."

So many teachers are leaving classrooms, more than a third of Indiana's school districts are closing for the day.

Rachel Schruben has three children.

"I support them 100 percent," she said. "I think they deserve better pay. I think they are fighting for good things."

But Melinda Griesemer another parent, disagrees.

"There are so many other professions that have tough jobs, but they don't have the political platform."

IPS will close Tuesday, giving teachers a professional development day already part of the school calendar, so students won't have to make up the class time. Students can get free lunches at 10 locations.

Greenfield schools will close for an e-Learning day. Students will study at home.

Center Grove schools are closing as well because of the large number of teachers taking the day off to attend the protest. Winter break is being shorted by a day to make up for lost class time.

Carmel Clay schools will be open. The district has substitutes for teachers attending the rally.

Teachers are demanding better pay, citing research showing that of all the states and Washington DC, Indiana ranks dead last in salary growth.

They also want laws changed that hold them responsible for students' standardized test scores and increase license renewal requirements

Union leaders insist the changes, while good for teachers, also put children first.

"We are not able to provide the quality educators we should provide because we are not able to get quality educators in the class room," Smith-Margraf said.

The more immediate concern is how union leaders will squeeze more than 13,000 educators into the statehouse.

Child care options November 19

The five facility-based Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis will open to provide meals and snacks for member families affected by the school closures on November 19. The clubs will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. for any members and children who wish to register.

Membership to Boys & Girls Clubs is $15 for the remainder of the school year. Click here for a registration form.

The YMCA will operate their "School's Out Camp" on November 19 at locations across central Indiana where school is closed for "Red for Ed Action Day." Click here to see a list of locations.