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Kokomo Teachers Association members and supporters rallied outside of the Kokomo School Corporation Administrative Services Center during the second round of contract negotiations on Thursday, October 24, 2019. Kelly Lafferty Gerber | Kokomo Tribune

A 2-year agreement between the Kokomo Teachers Association (KTA) and the Kokomo School Corporation will give Kokomo schools teachers a raise.

All qualifying teachers, who received an effective or highly effective rating on their evaluations, will see an increase in their pay, according to a release.

In 2018-19, a beginning teacher received $35,350 under the two year contract that expired June 30. For the 2019-20 school year, a beginning teacher will receive $35,850 for 2019-20. All qualified teachers will receive an increment, plus additional monetary increases between $125 to $500. During the second year (2020-21) of the contract, increases will be $125 to $500. Additional educational attainment can increase that raise amount for either year, or both years, of the contract.

The new teacher compensation package gives an average increase of 2.6% for the first year of the contract, and 2% for the second year.

The new contract was ratified by the Board of School Trustees at a special meeting Friday, Nov. 8. The KTA membership ratified the contract Wednesday, Oct. 30.

In a separate salary recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Jeff Hauswald for classified employees and administrators, the board approved raises at its regular monthly meeting Monday, Nov. 4. The compensation package approved by the board includes a 2% salary/wage increase for eligible classified employees beginning Feb. 9, 2020, and an additional 2% increase for eligible classified employees beginning Feb. 7, 2021.

As part of the same recommendation, the board approved a 1% administrative salary increase for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. The increases will be paid to all qualified administrators as a stipend during the school year and then added to the base salary the succeeding year. The Board approved an additional 1% stipend for all qualified administrators during both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 contractual years.

Also for administrators, in exchange for slight changes to the bereavement leave language, the board approved an additional 0.5% increase to the corporation’s 401(a) match both years of the contract.

Board President Cristi Brewer-Allen was pleased all employees are receiving raises.

“This board appreciates how very hard our teachers, our classified employees, and our administrators work on behalf of the children in Kokomo Schools,” Brewer-Allen said. “The board is happy that we can say ‘thank you’ to all staff members by providing pay increases. Our employees help make Kokomo an outstanding place to raise a family.”

Hauswald believes the pay increases for 2019 through 2021 are a recognition of the work the teachers and staff do on a daily basis.

“We recognize the tremendous work being done by all Kokomo School Corporation employees,” Hauswald said in a release. “Today’s teacher contract and the previous compensation recommendation for all other employees are one way we can thank them for their hard work.

KTA President Nicole Mundy noted that the KTA was pleased with the new agreement, especially considering the outside forces at play in the bargaining process.

“I am happy KSC and KTA were able to reach the best possible agreement given the financial circumstances imposed by our state lawmakers,” Mundy said.

For all employees, the board also approved a recommendation for the corporation to increase its contribution towards the group medical insurance plan by $50 for the single plan and $100 for all other plans for calendar year 2020; and by an additional $50 for the single plan and by an additional $100 for all other plans for calendar year 2021.

Included in the new teacher agreement is an increase to the optional good attendance bonus. For each school year of the 2-year contract, teachers who miss zero days can request that the school corporation place $1,400, up from $1,200, in their 401(a) retirement account. New to this teacher contract is a provision that allows teachers, who miss one day, to request that the school corporation place $1,000 in their 401(a) retirement account. These amounts are paid by the corporation, and are in addition to the 1.5% 401(a) match already offered to current certified staff.

In a related matter, the board approved a recommendation to increase substitute pay rates by $5 per day, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Teachers’ salaries will be adjusted to the new pay scale by the end of February 2020. All other pay enhancements, including stipends for administrators and classified employees, will occur after teachers’ salaries are adjusted.

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