VCSC reaches tentative agreement to raise teacher salaries

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VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Less than a month after Vigo Co. voters said yes to raising property taxes to help with budget issues within Vigo Co. schools, Vigo Co. School Corp. released a tentative agreement to raise teacher salaries.

The agreement, which Vigo Co. teachers voted in favor of Tuesday, would raise the minimum starting salary for teachers with Bachelor’s degrees from $35,000 to $38,000. Master’s degree level teachers will start out at $40,000 and teachers with Doctorates will start at $46,500.

According to the National Education Association, in the 2017-18 school year, the state average in Indiana for starting teacher salaries was $35,943.

According to data from VCSC, this raise would make Vigo Co. second only to Clay Co. schools in terms of minimum salaries of neighboring districts.

The collective bargaining report from the 2018-19 school year shows that on average, a teacher with five years of experience made $37,695 in Vigo Co. schools, just shy of the new agreement’s base salary.

Base salary increases are also included in the pending agreement, with returning teachers hired after May 10, 2005, offered the greater of an appropriate starting salary or a 5% increase. Teachers hired on or before May 10, 1996, will receive the greater of an appropriate starting salary or a 4% increase. Teachers hired before May 10, 1996, will receive the greater of an appropriate starting salary or a 3% increase.

According to the bargaining report, 985 of the 1,036 full-time teachers in Vigo Co. schools received a base salary increase that averaged $2,481.

Federal funding is an obstacle Superintendent Haworth has pointed to in terms of teacher salary, and according to the bargaining report, salary costs totaled over $54 million in 2018-19, with just over $3 million funded by federal grants.

Conditions for teachers also continue to dominate conversations at the state level, after over 14 thousand educators marched at the Statehouse in November during Red for Ed. But Governor Holcomb shared this week that he will not take up the issue of teacher pay in the 2020 legislative session, but will create recommendations for lawmakers in the 2021 budget-making session. That means official legislation regarding teacher pay at the state level will be on hold for the next year.

The tentative agreement will be presented to the Vigo Co. School Board Monday, and the board will then have a meeting at least 72 hours afterwards to vote on the agreement.

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