The Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees expressed approval of a proposed collective bargaining agreement. Members said the document shows that district employees are appreciated.

At the Sept. 27 meeting, the board discussed the tentative agreement between the school district and the Fort Wayne Education Association.

In that pact, the salary range for all teachers will be $42,306-$74,356 in the 2021-22 school year. The range for the 2022-23 school year will rise to $43,998-$77,330. A 4% increase in salary will occur each year of the two-year contract. As teachers progress on the pay schedule, their pay will increase between 8.2% and 14.4% over two years based on evaluation and education.

Teachers will be compensated for classroom coverage to help manage the shortage of substitute teachers. An increase in curriculum development and professional learning rates will be instituted if the agreement passes. A rise in pay rate for co-curricular, athletic positions and added new roles would also occur.

The board will meet Oct. 25 to ratify the contract. A public comment portion of the meeting will be available for those who would like to participate.

According to Chief Operations Officer Charles Cammack Jr., negotiations began earlier this year and have been smooth.

He said the pay is competitive with that of other districts in the state. Increases for nonteacher employees will also occur.

Eligible employees will receive retroactive pay from July 1 to be paid in November.

Board member Jennifer Mattias was pleased with the section that included cocurriculars.

Board President Anne Duff also commented.

“I know you take on a lot of roles as a teacher,” Duff said. “A lot of them are voluntary, and you put a lot of hours of time in. A lot of times, the way we have been thanking you is with thank yous and sometimes the staff appreciation in May. We’ve been doing the rock star rewards and, of course, the teacher of the year. But finally, I think we get to reward you financially, and this is just a great increase. I just wanted to express my gratitude for all of our teachers and the great job they do. This increase is well-deserved.”

Board member Noah Smith spoke highly of the proposed contract and the district teachers.

Superintendent Mark Daniel said he hopes the pay increase will help fill some of the positions the district has been struggling to fill. Those vacancies include including substitute teachers, food service staff, instructional assistants and teachers.

“I think this should be a loud gong saying Fort Wayne Community Schools appreciates the work our teachers do,” Daniel said.

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