Teachers to get 4% raise, more professional development - August 28, 2007

Record Number: 3337
Displayed from: Aug 28, 2007 , until: Sep 18, 2007

The two-year contract tentatively agreed to by Fort Wayne Community Schools and the Fort Wayne Education Association is highlighted by the 4 percent raise teachers will receive in the first year as well as three additional days of professional development starting in 2008-09. "This is a win-win," Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. "Nobody lost in this contract." Teachers scheduled meetings Monday, Aug. 27, and Tuesday, Aug. 28, to ratify the contract. The school board is expected to vote on the agreement Sept. 10. Highlights of the contract include: * Teachers will receive a 4 percent salary increase in 2007-08 and a 2 percent increase in 2008-09. With the three additional days in 2008-09, the total increase is 7.6 percent over the two years. * The contract also intends to provide an environment that supports teachers in reaching all students. To accomplish this goal, three professional development days were added to the school year calendar. Teachers will be paid for the additional days, which are scheduled to take place in August, February and April. * To ensure the best teachers are in the right positions, the hiring process will be modified. Open positions will first be posted internally, as has always been the practice. After the two job fairs, which will take place before the end of the school year, the positions will be opened publicly to new graduates and others interested in working for FWCS. * To make the new hiring system work, teachers planning to retire will be encouraged to give their notice by Feb. 1. Those who do will be paid 2 percent of their base salary into a retirement account. * Kindergarten teachers will be paid for another additional day to work with parents prior to the beginning of the school year. * Middle and high school teachers will engage in professional collaboration for at least 30 minutes a week. Elementary school teachers already engage in this process. * A committee will be established to review the stipends paid for extra duties, including extracurricular activities, to ensure the dollar amount matches the time and effort committed to the activity. * Another committee will be established to examine the scope and future of English as a Second Language programs. "This is a great contract for our teachers," FWEA President Steve Brace said. "It gives them the raise they deserve and provides them with tools to continue to meet the needs of boys and girls in the classroom."

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.