HANCOCK COUNTY — Starting salaries for teachers at all of the county’s public school districts are going up, and more funds are in store for returning educators who performed well last year as well.
New agreements between the school corporations and teacher associations have been ratified or will be soon. Along with the raises, the contracts also make progress toward catching up educators’ pay with colleagues who have similar years of experience.
Here is a summary of where the contracts stand in each county district:
Teachers in the Southern Hancock district are set to receive a raise under the new contract. The amount is set at $3,000 depending on evaluations, but evaluation ratings of “effective” or “highly effective” are required to receive a salary increase.
Starting base salary for teachers was raised from $45,800 to $48,000 for educators with a bachelor’s degree and from $48,800 to $51,000 for those with a master’s degree. The district’s salary range is now $48,000 to $82,400.
The salary increase awarded to teachers using the performance factors will be added to base salaries unless the teacher has reached the maximum base salary of $82,400. Those teachers who have reached the maximum base salary limit will receive a salary increase of $1,600.
Kent Gish is a longtime district educator and represented the teachers during the negotiations. He said the team is happy with the results.
“Since no raises were given last year, we were looking for one this year, and the administration continues to support teachers as best they can and gave us a nice one,” Gish said.
In addition to raises for all teachers, they were able to add to new-teacher starting pay to keep SH competitive with surrounding corporations. The starting pay for a new Southern Hancock teacher is the highest in the county. Gish also noted that the contract adds over $18,000 to extra-curricular positions, making sure athletics, clubs and arts are supported.
“Obviously, there is always more to do, but we’re happy with this year’s contract and looking forward to when we see the raises in our checks,” Gish said.
Gish noted SH teachers are well paid compared to those in other districts, and they want to live up to the expectations placed on the educators by the administration and community.
“This kind of support helps us set and keep a high standard, and we appreciate it,” Gish said. “Southern Hancock is a great place to teach because of the administrators, parents and community we have here.”
The contract is set to be ratified at the school board meeting, slated for Monday, Nov. 8.
Also up for ratification on Monday is a new two-year agreement for 2021-2023 between Greenfield-Central’s school board and classroom teachers’ association.
It calls for a starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree of $43,500 during the 2021-22 school year, an increase of $1,500 from the previous school year. For 2022-23, it goes up to $45,000.
All returning teachers this year who received good ratings last year will get a $3,000 raise as well, and again in 2022-23 if they continue to perform well.
“I think it’s important to know not only where teachers are going to be this year, but that there will be additional money coming in the future as well,” said Harold Olin, Greenfield-Central superintendent.
Forty-four G-C teachers will receive salary adjustments to align them with peers who have similar years of experience. Those adjustments were one of Olin’s and teachers’ association president Russell Wiley’s goals during the negotiations.
“It helps to keep people who have been around for a while in the building,” Wiley said. “That’s good for everybody.”
The 2021-22 contract between Mt. Vernon’s board and its classroom teachers’ association was ratified earlier this week. It comes with a base salary increase of $2,155 to all members of the association. Starting pay for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is now $42,165. Returning teachers with good evaluations will also get an extra $1,020.
Mt. Vernon is committing nearly $60,000 to move teachers up on the pay scale who are behind as well.
Overall pay to members of the association increased by 6%.
“The most we’ve been able to provide in one year in quite some time, and maybe ever at Mt. Vernon,” assistant superintendent Chris Smedley said. “Certainly for as long as the current administration’s been here; so we’re very proud of that.”
He added the size of the increase was able to be accomplished because of the boost in state funding for education and another year of strong enrollment growth at Mt. Vernon. Indiana added $600 million to its state budget this spring for education.
Teachers seeking parental leave now no longer have to rely on sick days. Now, those who adopt a newborn child; give birth to a child; is the father of a newborn child or married to the mother who gives birth will get up to 40 work days of paid parental leave following the birth. They can use sick or personal days to extend that leave.
Jack Parker, Mt. Vernon superintendent, said he and his colleagues have learned the bonding between children and parents during the first two months of their lives has more of an impact on their mental health than the next 12 years.
“We are doing it because we understand it’s an investment in the child,” Parker said. “We’re in the kid business; it was easy for us to do. I’m really proud of our board for supporting that.”
The educators association at Eastern Hancock supports its proposed 2021-22 contract, and the school board is slated to vote on it on Monday.
A teacher with a bachelor’s degree just starting out will make $38,750 — $1,250 more than last year. Returning teachers with good evaluations will get a $2,750 raise as well.
“In addition to that, we’re implementing a new scale to the rest of the staff to make sure that their salary reflects their years of experience in education in a more equitable way,” said George Philhower, Eastern Hancock superintendent.
That’s also a highlight for Dana Allen, a fifth-grade teacher and high-ability coordinator at Eastern Hancock as well as president of the district’s educators association.
“We were really able to correct some egregious discrepancies with the process we use to bring things more in line for teachers who have similar years of experience to be making similar salaries,” she said.
She appreciates the increase to state education funds as well.
“But there is still work to be done to bring Indiana teacher salaries back to a competitive level with neighboring states and with the business world,” she said.
Kristy Deer of the Daily Reporter staff contributed to this story.