School salaries won’t change; teachers will get incentives instead of raises

BROWNSTOWN

As part of a recent collective-bargaining agreement, Brownstown Central Community School Corp. teachers won’t see a base salary increase for 2017-18.

That follows a June announcement of administrators and classified employees not receiving raises this school year.

Superintendent Greg Walker said it’s all due to a significant drop in enrollment last school year, which resulted in a decrease in the general fund revenue the corporation receives from the state.

A school corporation’s general fund budget, a majority of which is used to pay for employees’ salaries and benefits, is based on enrollment.

Brownstown’s enrollment went from 1,671 in 2015-16 to 1,585.12 in 2016-17. The student count in February of this year took another dip to 1,574.12.

Walker said the corporation’s drop in enrollment between the past two school years resulted in a loss of $583,000 in general fund revenue.

In an effort to reward teachers for their hard work and dedication, Walker said school officials were able to bargain with the Brownstown Central Classroom Teachers Association and offer several incentives.

For one, teachers who were evaluated as effective or highly effective in 2016-17 will receive a one-time stipend of $750.

Also, the minimum salary was set at $38,519, and any teacher not at that base amount will be bumped up to that level.

The corporation’s contribution toward health insurance will increase to $6,350 for a single plan and $8,250 for a family plan.

Teachers successfully completing three hours of graduate credit will receive tuition reimbursement of up to $1,500 per year, and credentialized teachers teaching a dual credit or advanced placement class will receive a yearly stipend of $500.

Finally, the corporation will reimburse employees for the cost of criminal history background and expanded child protection index checks that are required by Indiana Code.

Walker also recommended all administrators who were evaluated as effective or highly effective for 2016-17 receive a one-time stipend of $750. The corporation has eight administrators.

All classified personnel will receive a one-time stipend of 2 percent of their salary up to a maximum of $650 with the exception to two salary adjustments — $52,000 for the information systems administrator and $50,000 for the network systems manager. Walker said those two salaries are paid out of the capital projects fund, not the general fund.

Classified employees also will receive the same corporation health insurance contribution increases. Classified employees include bus drivers, secretaries, librarians, cooks, teacher’s aides, custodians and others who are not certified teachers.

The collective bargaining agreement and stipends were unanimously approved by the board of trustees.

A positive for the corporation is the most-recent student count Sept. 15 showed an enrollment of 1,597. That’s 29 students more than officials predicted.

The corporation took several steps to try to increase enrollment. That included making upgrades to the school buildings, updating its website and doing self-promotion by setting up a booth at the Jackson County Fair.

Despite the fluctuations in enrollment and the general fund budget, no staff members have lost their jobs, and school programming hasn’t been affected. In fact, Walker said they have been able to add a few programs.

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.