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Teachers to get raises in new contract

News-Examiner

Teacher pay will be increasing under terms of a contract that the Fayette County school board was to vote on Tuesday. The beginning base teacher salary will move to $38,500.

The teachers’ union, American Federation of Teachers Local 2205, AFL-CIO, has already ratified the agreement.

The board had a special meeting at Tuesday to hear public comments about the proposed agreement and vote on it. 

“One area where we felt we needed to make some progress was with the teacher pay at the beginning and middle rates as we were trying to close the gap between the base pay for a new teacher and the average pay of a teacher. We made a little progress this year,” Scott Collins, superintendent, said.

The contract will provide a $2,000 base salary increase to all teachers earning less than $60,000 per year. For teachers who earn more than $60,000, the corporation proposed a $1,500 base salary increase. Another $500 of compensation (to equal $2,000) would be paid in December as a one-time stipend, pending board approval.

“This places an additional $500 on the base salary for all teachers who make less than $60,000. It also moves our beginning base teacher salary to $38,500 for 2019-20,” Collins stated.

Teachers who are rated as “ineffective” or “needs improvement” do not qualify for the pay increase, according to the contract document, which is online at the school corporation website, fayette.schooldesk.net/.

Teacher pay is increased in steps based on years of experience, according to the contract. Additionally, teachers with masters degrees are paid $2,500 more than those with bachelors degrees and the same level of experience. The top base pay for a local teacher with a masters degree is $70,000. Teachers with extra responsibilities that are specified in the contract are paid additional money for them.

Collins said one of the school administration’s goals is finding ways to keep Fayette County teacher compensation and benefits competitive. Collins stated, “I regularly monitor the compensation and benefits provided to teachers in school districts in east central Indiana and I feel we are doing a nice job with remaining very competitive.”

The corporation has agreed to continue the same cost-sharing health insurance contribution as in past years, up to a 5 percent increase in the overall premium.

“This was a good year in the health insurance renewal process as we had a 4 percent increase in total premiums so the full cost-sharing contribution is provided to teachers,” Collins said. “In the three previous years combined, we had experienced a 33 percent increase in premiums so I was very happy to see our premium increase at only 4 percent.

Collins added that “Health insurance is a big concern as we continue to see costs increase at such a high amount. When you look at the last four premium increases (2017-2020), our health insurance trust has had a combined overall increase of 37 percent on our yearly premiums. If we don’t have changes in the coming years with the skyrocketing health insurance costs, I fear that we will eventually be paying more for health insurance coverage for each employee than we are salaries, especially for our newer teachers.

The new contract adds three paid extracurricular positions. They are: junior varsity assistant baseball coach, junior varsity assistant softball coach and middle school Energizer’s coach.

The ratified agreement will be presented to the state of Indiana by Nov. 15.

“I commend each person who sat at the negotiations table for their open and collaborative dialogue during the process,” Collins stated.