By CHRIS MORRIS
NEW ALBANY —
While the state compensation mode has changed the bargaining process and the way teachers are evaluated for pay increases, the New Albany-Floyd County Education Association and the NA-FC School Corp. have reached agreement on a new two-year contract.
Teachers will receive a 1 percent raise along with a 1 percent, one-time only lump sum bonus for the 2013-14 school year. In 2014-15, most teachers will receive a step increase and the salary schedule will be increased by one-half of 1 percent. Teachers also at the top of the scale can move to 72 units of merit which amounts to $500 for 108 teachers. For some teachers, it has been three years since they have seen any kind of pay increase.
The total cost to the corporation will be $1.4 million which will be taken from the corporation’s rainy day fund.
Due to new legislation, 67 percent of movement up the pay scale is based on teacher evaluation. The other 33 percent in the NA-FC School Corp. will be based on experience and degree attainment.
“Both [teacher’s association and administration] are committed to career path [longevity] for educators,” said Bill Briscoe, assistant to the superintendent for operations. “We were pleased with the way the negotiations were conducted. We had some very difficult discussions but it was always very professional. We all spoke very frank.”
Under the new two-year plan, beginning teachers will earn $34,490 this school year and $34,662 in 2014-15 while teachers at the top of the pay scale and merit scale will earn $68,291 this year and $69,132 next school year.
Joy Lohmeyer, president of the NA-FC Education Association, said the new contract follows a “complex compensation model.” She said 92 percent of the members voted last Thursday and Friday to ratify the new deal. Monday night, the board of school trustees unanimously approved the contract. She also said under new state law, formal negotiations on a contract can not start until Aug. 1 and must be completed by Sept. 30.
“We had a good vote turnout. It’s not easy to explain to people the old compensation model to the new one,” Lohmeyer said. “I think both sides were respectful with each other. Both sides felt like they were heard. We feel this is as fair as possible at this time.”