Summit School District teachers will see a pay raise next school year, with $720 added to all salaries.
The district’s school board approved the raise among other negotiation agreements with the Summit County Education Association, which represents teachers, during the board meeting Tuesday, May 13.
The negotiating team met April 29 and 30. The team’s 12 members and a facilitator identified issues related to teacher contracts, listed interests, generated options, discussed possibilities, caucused and reached agreements, which will be effective for the 2014-15 school year.
The district’s human resources director, Trisha Theelke-Forman, said the negotiation process was comfortable and positive, and school board member J Kent McHose said bargaining wasn’t about winners or losers.
“We sit sprinkled around the room. We don’t sit one team on one side and one team on the other,” he said, adding that the facilitator was impressed with the ease and civility of the negotiations.
In a prepared statement, Ryan Mihm, who represented Summit Middle School on the negotiating team, wrote that the fiercest bargaining was over dark chocolate bars provided by superintendent Heidi Pace.
The team decided to increase salaries by an average of 3.2 percent, district spokeswoman Julie McCluskie said, which is 1.8 percent for moving through the salary schedule and 1.4 percent for the $720 across-the-board increase.
Teacher salaries will start at $38,781 for zero years of experience and no graduate-level coursework beyond the teaching credential. The highest salary will be double that amount, $77,562, which a teacher could make with 26 years of experience and 144 hours of graduate-level coursework.
Other school district administrators and support staff will receive 3.2 percent salary increases.
Pace’s contract was approved at a board meeting April 22 and extended to June 30, 2016. She also received the 3.2 percent increase, bumping her salary to about $176,800.
The average salary increase is down from the 2013-14 school year, when it was 4.25 percent. In 2012-13 teacher salaries were raised an average of 2 percent, up from zero percent in the 2011-12 school year, when salaries were frozen for a year.
Every three years, the entire contract is open to negotiation. The next two years, the team will negotiate only salary and benefits.