FWCS approves contract with teachers - March 23, 2010

Record Number: 6146
Displayed from: Mar 23, 2010 , until: Apr 23, 2010

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees approved a one-year contract with the Fort Wayne Education Association at its meeting Monday, March 22. The contract makes no change to teacher benefits, including health insurance or automatic teacher step increases for those eligible. Those benefits are automatically renewed under State law unless teachers consent to change them. FWCS administrators agreed not to accept step increases in 2010. There was no general salary increase for teachers or administrators. The contract lays out in detail the staffing process for the 11 LEAD Schools. Staffing will be based on a commitment to the school and demonstrated teaching effectiveness, not seniority. Incentives for teachers working in the LEAD Schools were also included in the contract, but are contingent upon funding. With the change in the high school schedule from a 4-block to seven period day, changes were made in the contract regarding the number of students high school teachers see during the day. There were also adjustments made to the length of the school day for students and teachers at all levels. Starting in the fall, elementary students will be in session from 8:55 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (currently, 8:50 a.m.-3:20 p.m.); middle school students will be in session from 7:30 a.m.-2:25 p.m. (currently, 7:55 a.m.-2:35 p.m.); and high school students will be in session from 7:30 a.m.-2:35 p.m. (currently, 8 a.m.-2:35 p.m.). In addition, schools at all three levels will hold parent-teacher conferences twice next year. The contract also establishes three joint committees to work on issues over the next year. The committees were created to: Monitor the LEAD Schools next year and evaluate which practices should be adopted by all FWCS schools. Develop a new evaluation system to be used in the LEAD Schools in the fall and study other Race to the Top and Fast Forward requirements for turning around schools. Study pay and benefits for teachers. Recommendations will be made by Jan. 1, 2011. "We have a lot to work on moving forward," Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. "While I am pleased that our teachers are willing to be partners with us as we establish our 11 LEAD Schools because that addresses academic excellence for our students, we still have to come up with long-term solutions to deal with our budget. Over the next nine months we must work together to study pay and benefits to find cost-saving measures so we can keep as many teachers in the classroom as possible."

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.