On Tuesday evening, the Anderson Community Schools board held a public meeting to present the tentative contract agreement for July 2021-July 2023.

Under the tentative agreement, all qualifying certified staff will receive a base pay increase of $2,500 for the 2021-2022 school year. In the 2022-2023 school year, all qualified certified staff will receive a $1,500 base pay increase.

“I think this demonstrates looking to show the true value of all our employees,” said Randy Harrison, president of the Anderson Federation of Teachers.

Under 2011 state legislation, teachers can’t receive annual raises on a salary schedule, according to ACS attorney Charles Rubright. However, an exception lets schools offer retention catch-up raises.

For the 2021-22 school year, teachers who have six or 10 years of experience will be eligible for the catch-up raise. The next year, teachers with five or eight years’ experience will be eligible.

All noncertified staff will receive a base pay increase of 5% in the 2021-22 school year and a 3% increase the following year.

Teachers will also be eligible for four stipends, if they meet the qualifications of each.

The first stipend offered under the tentative agreement is the operating referendum stipend. Any teacher who is employed as of Nov. 1, 2021, will receive a $2,000 stipend. For the next school year, any teacher employed as of Nov. 1, 2022, will get a $2,000 stipend.

Any returning teachers who were employed on at least the last day of the 2020-2021 school year and the first day of the 2021-22 school year and will still be employed the last pay period before spring break 2022 will be eligible for a $3,000 COVID-19 hazard stipend.

“Part of the natural consequence from this settlement is this school corporation is going to have to right size, and part of right sizing in a responsible way is to do it through attrition, not forced, involuntary layoffs,” Rubright said.

For the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, up to 40 teachers per year who are eligible for retirement will be able to receive a $20,000 stipend put into their 401 (A) plan. At least 27 teachers must provide irrevocable notice of their retirement by Jan. 31, 2022, or the buyout will be rescinded.

For example, if 45 teachers volunteer to retire this school year, the district would honor those requests. However, the top number of retirees for the 2022-23 school year would be 35, or the goal of 40 reduced by the number of teachers (five) exceeding 40 this year.

Teachers who continuously worked during the 2021-22 school year and are still employed on Sept. 1, 2022, will be eligible to receive an additional $2,000 retention stipend. The following school year, teachers must have worked continuously during the 2022-23 school year, still be employed on June 30, 2023, and not participating in the retirement buyout will be eligible for a $2,000 stipend.

The tentative contract also offers a COVID-19 leave bank for teachers. In the leave bank, the corporation will deposit 225 days. Additionally, teachers can deposit up to three sick days each into this bank. The days deposited by the school corporation will be used first, then the days contributed by teachers. If teachers’ days go unused, they will be returned to the teachers who donated them.

To use time from the bank, teachers will have to meet certain qualifications in the tentative contract agreement.

“I recommend that this board consider ratification and vote yes at the meeting November 30,” Rubright said.

The board will meet next on Tuesday, Nov. 30, to vote the tentative contract agreement. This meeting is open to the public, and members of the public may ask questions about the tentative agreement. The meeting will be at 5 p.m. at the ACS Administration building, 1600 Hillcrest Ave.

Follow Kylee Mullikin on Twitter @kyleemullikinhb or call 765-640-4250.

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