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FWCS approves support staff deal

School secretaries, assistants, groundskeepers and other employees will soon receive a pay increase under a contract the Fort Wayne Community Schools board approved Monday.

The contract includes a 2 percent wage increase and $1 an hour increase for secretaries, media clerks, school assistants, bus assistants, special education assistants, clerks and nutrition services employees for fiscal year 2013-14.

That group will also receive a 2 percent wage increase for fiscal year 2014-15, according to the contract.

Groundskeepers and interpreters for students who are hearing and visually impaired will receive a 2 percent wage increase in 2013-14 and again in 2014-15.

The employee group – represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – approved the two-year agreement Feb. 24.

About 1,327 employees will receive the wage increases, which will be applied retroactively, FWCS Chief Operations Officer Charles Cammack said.

The contract also eliminated retirement matches and states that beginning March 22, only employees who regularly work six or more hours a day will be subject to the Public Employee Retirement Fund.

This change aligns with other union groups, officials said.

Cammack said this is the final employee contract awaiting approval from the school board.

In August, the board approved an agreement that included a $1,100 base wage increase for all eligible teachers and increased new teachers’ starting salaries to $35,500 for those with bachelor’s degrees and $39,500 for those with master’s degrees.

The district’s highest-performing teachers also received stipends of $2,000 and $2,500 based on their level of effectiveness.

In November, the board approved a 2 percent pay increase for bus drivers.

iPads coming soon

Also on Monday, the FWCS board approved the purchase of more than 1,600 iPads to be used in elementary and middle school classrooms.

The district will buy 720 Apple iPad minis for $272,880 to be used in seventh-grade math classrooms next school year.

The iPads will be bought through the Common School Fund and the School Technology Advancement Account.

An additional 960 iPads with retina displays will be bought as mobile learning labs for elementary schools.

The iPads will be stored on a cart and shared among classrooms, officials said.

The cost for the full-sized iPads is $459,840 and will be paid for by the Common School Fund.