Kokomo Perspective E Edition Page A3

kokomoperspective.com September 16, 2015 Kokomo Perspective A3 KSC proposes teacher increases in new two-year agreement Kokomo School Corpo- ration (KSC) put forth a proposal for a new two- year agreement with the Kokomo Teachers Asso- ciation (KTA) that begins this school year and focus- es on increased compensa- tion for teachers. The proposal comes af- ter KSCs previous four- year agreement with the KTA expired in August. Indiana state law no lon- ger allows four-year con- tracts and places a maxi- mum length of two years for all teacher agreements. If ratified by the KSC Board of School Trust- ees at Mondays regular Board meeting and by the Kokomo Teachers Asso- ciation Wednesday (Sept. 16), salaries will be ad- justed to the increased pay scale in October. We expect this agree- ment to be approved, and I think it is a win-win for the district and our teach- ers, KSC Superintendent JeffHauswald said. Our staffmembers work hard every day. They are de- serving of these increases. I appreciate the work of the KTA bargaining team while representing their teachers. I also appreciate the Board for their con- stant support of our teach- ers and all our staffmem- bers. Increment increases for teachers average 3.15 percent for 2015-16, even though new teachers will see a more significant percentage increase. For 2016-17, the average in- crease for teachers will be 1.3 percent. Starting salary for be- ginning teachers is cur- rently $31,374 under the former agreement. In the new two-year teacher con- tract the starting salary for beginning teachers will increase to $34,000 over a two-year period, which is an 8.4 percent increase for new teachers. For a teacher who started work- ing at Kokomo Schools in the 2014-15 school year, the increase comes out to approximately 10 percent for the 2016-17 school year due to the teacher moving on the experience ladder in the pay scale, which in- creases each year. For teachers at the top of the salary scale (20 years experience or more), their salary will increase from $60,160 to $61,762, which a 2.7 percent increase over the two-year period. The new teacher com- pensation model comes at a cost of $888,000 to the corporation over the two- year period. While teachers with 0 to 19 years of experience saw increases in the old contract, veteran teachers have not had an increase for several years. Corpo- ration icials felt it was important to make these increases for experienced teachers a priority for the new contract. We knew that even though state funding has not kept up with infla- tion, we wanted to put a generous financial pack- age on the table to rec- ognize the quality work our teachers do because our teachers work really hard, Hauswald said. Some might say this is a high percentage for raises, but many teachers did not receive raises in the last contract, so this helps av- erage that out. This still is not as much as the teach- ers deserve. Our teachers work really hard every day for our students. They give tirelessly to our stu- dents and to Kokomo. Im pleased we're able to offer them this package. Included in the teacher contract is an optional good attendance bonus that will give the teach- ers the option of plac- ing $1,000 in their 401(a) retirement account if no days of school are missed. For teachers who miss only one to two days dur- ing a school year, they can receive $600 toward that account. What were saying is if the corporation doesnt have to pay for substitutes, we will use the money that would have been spent on subs for the teachers as a bonus for the teachers future, Hauswald said. It is not required, but if a teacher doesnt miss any days, then at the end of the school year they can ill out a form to request that money be placed in their 401(a). Over a longer period of time, it could make a difference for their retirement. The contract also allows an opener if health insur- ance rates for the employ- ees were to increase by more than two percent. If that happens, the bargain- ing teams would renegoti- ate next August the cost of health insurance that em- ployees pay. by Alyx Arnett Features Reporter aarnett@kokomoperspective.com Contracts A7 Perspective Photo / Alyx Arnett TEACHING - First grade teacher Aubrey Adams at Bon Air Elementary School works with Justice Gunter. Leadership Kokomo will host a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, at the Ko- komo Event & Conference Center for anyone interest- ed in becoming a member of the programs Class of 2016. There is no charge to attend. Deadline to register for the LK recruitment lun- cheon is Wednesday, Sept. 30. Reservations may be made by calling 765-459- 0561, ext. 7286; by email to sreed9@ivytech.edu or at www.leadershipkokomo. org/events . We are recruiting exist- ing and emerging leaders for our 2016 class, which will begin Jan. 7, said Sha- ron Reed-Corbett, Lead- ership Kokomo director. Our mission is to bring together a diverse group of community-minded lead- ers who work within How- ard County and empower them to become resource- ful stewards of the com- munity. The luncheon invitation is also extended to repre- sentatives of businesses, companies and organiza- tions in Howard County interested in expanding community connections Leadership Kokomo luncheon Oct. 5 through their employees involvement in local activi- ties. Details of the LK pro- gram will be shared at the event. The LK Steering Com- mittee will review appli- cations and select 30 par- ticipants for the 2016 class. The application deadline is Dec. 1, and participants will be notified of accep- tance by Dec. 18. Fees for the nine-month program are $595 for representa- tives of Chamber member organizations and $675 for non-members. An early- bird discount of $50 is available with applications submitted by Oct. 30. Ap- plications may be found at www.leadershipkokomo. org. For more information, visit www.leadershipko- komo.org or contact Reed- Corbett at 765-459-0561, ext. 7286, or sreed9@ivy- tech.edu . First Farmers Financial Corp. (OTC PINK: FFMR), the parent company of First Farmers Bank & Trust Co., announced that on Sept. 8 the Board of Di- rectors approved a quar- terly cash dividend for the second quarter of 2015 of $0.30 per share, payable on Oct. 15 to sharehold- ers of record as of Sept. 30. This quarterly dividend represents an 11.1 percent increase over the quarterly dividend declared in Sep- tember 2014. First Farmers declares dividend First Farmers Financial Corp is a $1.47 billion fi- nancial holding company headquartered in Con- verse, Ind. First Farmers Bank & Trust has 29 of- ices throughout Carroll, Cass, Clay, Grant, Hamil- ton, Howard, Huntington, Madison, Marshall, Mi- ami, Johnson, Starke, Sul- livan, Tipton, Vermillion, Vigo and Wabash counties in Indiana and eight of- ices in Coles, Edgar, and Vermilion counties in Il- linois.

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