Frustrated by decision to hike principals' pay, teachers go to board

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Classroom Teachers Association president Patricia Laughlin and a number of fellow teachers from the Mt. Vernon School district shared their stories of how the difficult financial situation at MV has affected them and the changes they hope to see in the future at Monday's school board meeting. (Joe Hornaday/Daily Reporter)

FORTVILLE — Finally pushed over the edge by the difficult financial situation at Mt. Vernon schools, a group of teachers filled seats at Monday night’s school board meeting to share their stories and hopes for the future of the district.

Their focus: The board’s decision last month to grant $2,000 raises to Mt. Comfort Elementary School Principal Heather Whitaker and Eighth Grade Academy Principal Scott Shipley to bring their salaries in line with the district’s new principals. The teachers argued it wasn’t fair to give administrators raises and not include them, too.

 Mt. Vernon’s budget situation has hit employees hard. On top of salary freezes, cutbacks and layoffs, insurance premiums have gone up for the teachers as well. Patricia Laughlin, president of the Classroom Teachers Association, said she was blind-sided by the rising insurance costs. Teachers rated effective or highly effective under the new evaluation system will receive a pay increase of $1,000 a year, but the high costs of insurance mostly will offset that in many cases, Laughlin said.

For some, the situation is even worse.

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