Fort Wayne Community Schools leaders Monday praised a proposed contract calling for 4% teacher pay raises this academic year and next.
Depending on how educators progress on the salary schedule, some could see a total 14% increase, officials said. That's based on a teacher's evaluation and education level.
Superintendent Mark Daniel told the board the salary increases are overdue.
“We're now competing for teachers not just across the state but across the Midwest,” he said. “If we're not competitive, it will be hard to fill those positions. I think this should be a loud gong saying, 'You know, Fort Wayne Community Schools appreciates the work our teachers do.'”
The board is slated to hear public comment and vote on the proposed contract Oct. 25. The document is available at www.fortwayneschools.org.
The Fort Wayne Education Association ratified the agreement Friday, said Sandra Vohs, union president. She noted it was well received.
Vohs, Daniel and board members thanked lawmakers for approving a state budget that allows FWCS to increase teacher pay.
“Now, we hope this is a beginning, not an ending,” Daniel said, “and we see this continuing for many, many years.”
The salary range for teachers was $40,679 to $71,496 last academic year.
Under the proposed terms, the range will be $42,306 to $74,356 this year and $43,998 to $77,330 in 2022-23.
Other highlights include increased stipends for co-curricular and athletic positions and the addition of co-curricular positions, including elementary flag football, middle school team leaders, and middle school theater, orchestra and dance directors.
The district also will continue to pay teachers for additional classroom coverage to help manage the substitute teacher shortage.
Board member Julie Hollingsworth stumped administrators by asking when FWCS last approved back-to-back increases as large as 4%.
“Maybe when Dr. Daniel was teaching here,” Hollingsworth said, getting some laughs. “I'm just curious, but I know it's been a while.”
Anne Duff, board president, said teachers often take on additional, voluntary roles – such as surrogate parent, mentor, counselor, chauffeur and chaperon – and they are generally thanked through staff appreciation events and the Teacher of the Year program.
Finally, Duff said, FWCS gets to reward educators financially.
“This increase really is well deserved,” she said. “We're just really glad we're able to do this for you.”