By Carson Gerber For the Pharos-Tribune
---- — PERU — The more than 130 teachers at Peru Community Schools received a 1.79 percent pay raise this year, making it the largest pay increase in four years in the district.
The raise was part of the master contract negotiated this year by the district and the Peru Community Education Association.
The pay increase will cost the district an additional $110,000 in wages and benefits.
“We wish we could give our teachers much more than that, but we just don’t have the general fund dollars to do it,” said Superintendent Chuck Brimbury. “We’ve experienced very challenging budgets over the last four years.”
Association President Scott Thompson said teachers are also set to get bonuses from a state grant the district received for implementing the state’s teacher evaluation system. He said each qualifying teacher will receive a chunk of the $176,000 grant.
“The raise is good, but the bonuses are twice as nice,” he said.
The more than 270 non-teaching employees, including administrators, custodians and secretaries, also received a 1.75 percent raise that totals another $110,000 in extra wages and benefits for the district.
The contract also increases the minimum salary a teacher can earn to $33,883, and the maximum salary to $63,000. Brimbury said those numbers have increased every year for three years.
“Our teachers are a hard working group and they deserve that,” Brimbury said. “We always work cooperatively and collaboratively with the teachers association. We work arm in arm so we can move forward.”