East Allen County Schools will use more than $4.3 million to boost teachers' salaries under a new two-year contract approved Tuesday.
Together, the $2.6 million to be distributed this academic year and the almost $1.8 million to be distributed next year is $2.4 million more than was awarded under the last agreement.
“It was a wonderful bargaining session this time,” Andra Kosmoski, president of the East Allen Educators Association, told the board. “It went smoothly, and then just the fact that you and the administration are recognizing that the money needs to go to the teachers – we appreciate it.”
With one member absent, the board unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed the contract, which runs from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023.
EACS has about 630 teachers.
Their individual raises will be based on a points system. Teachers can earn up to seven points, which will be worth $683.09 in the first year. That means educators could see their salary increase by as much as $4,782.
The point value for next year is to be determined.
“It was a well-deserved raise that you guys got,” board member Steve Screeton said.
Member Ron Turpin thanked the state legislature for approving a state budget that allows for the increases, but Kosmoski said after the meeting that teachers' advocacy efforts deserve credit, too.
She specifically referenced Red for Ed. In November 2019, EACS teachers were among thousands of educators from across Indiana who gathered inside and outside the state Capitol for the Red for Ed Action Day rally to plead for more money and less bureaucracy.
The agreement approved Tuesday states base salaries will be capped at $80,000. If a teacher's base salary exceeds $80,000 with the raise, the remainder of the increase will be paid as a stipend.
The new hire salary schedule, which does not reflect what current teachers make, was also adjusted. Salaries begin at $43,200 this year and $45,700 next year compared with $40,700 in 2020-21.
The board also approved pay increases for about a dozen other employee groups, including nurses, secretaries, food service workers and technical support personnel.
“What happened tonight is the direct reflection of the hard work and commitment that all of you have made, even through what Steve (Screeton) referred to as 'very difficult times,'” said Tim Hines, the board vice president.
“So thank all of you for what you've done.”
Superintendent Marilyn Hissong piled onto the good news by sharing enrollment numbers. The district has 9,996 students, a gain of 248 from last year.
“We definitely see those students in our buildings,” she said.