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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 1:00 am

Incentives added to teacher contract

FWCS board also OKs contract with other staff

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Becoming a mentor, committing to certain buildings, and writing and piloting new curriculum are ways teachers in Fort Wayne Community Schools can earn more cash.

The school board Monday approved bonuses and stipends tied to these and other efforts as part of an amendment to the master teacher contract ratified last year with the Fort Wayne Education Association.

The board also approved a two-year contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. It represents district secretaries, media clerks, clerks, assistants, groundskeepers, nutrition services employees and interpreters for the hearing-impaired and visually impaired. The contract provides a 4 percent wage increase effective this academic year.

Steve Corona, board vice president, commended the bargaining teams.

“We appreciate the work that our employees provide us every day,” he said. He said the district tries to be “as fair and generous as possible.”

Board President Julie Hollingsworth agreed, adding that the state budget influences what FWCS can allocate for employees.

“I hope that teachers and other employees are happy with the contract we got,” Hollingsworth said.

Neither union addressed the board.

The renegotiated teacher contract provides financial incentives for teachers at 20 schools that are identified as complex. The description considers such factors as high poverty rates and high rates of students entering and leaving the school, administrators said.

Teachers who agree to work at a complex school from 2019 through 2022 will receive a one-time $1,500 bonus. In addition, teachers at complex schools will receive $2,000 annually as a retention bonus through 2022.

This is a strategy to recruit and retain educators at schools with unique needs, said Charles Cammack Jr., chief operations officer. He said FWCS has identified 10 elementary, seven middle and three high schools as being complex.

Other changes include the following:

• The establishment of a career ladder. It includes a pilot mentoring program to begin in 2019-20. Experienced teachers will receive $3,050 to mentor new teachers or those new to FWCS.

• The creation of curriculum collaborators. Teachers willing to write and pilot new curriculum will receive an hourly rate of $45 for their extra hours, the same rate teachers who worked on curriculum over the summer earned.

• A one-time $3,500 stipend for teachers who complete coursework to teach a dual-credit course, which allow students to earn college credit.

• A one-time $1,500 stipend for teachers rated effective or highly effective based on their performance in 2017-18.

• A one-time $1,100 stipend for teachers at the top of the salary schedule who were rated effective or highly effective based on their performance in 2017-18.

The teacher contract expires June 30.

asloboda@jg.net