VANDALIA — Vandalia-Butler City School teachers and staff will receive a modest pay raise as part of the three-year contract approved by the Board of Education on Tuesday evening.
The base salary of the contract for certificated staff, or teachers, was set at $37,853 which represents a 2.9% increase over the previous agreement. The base salary will increase two percent annually in each of the final two years of the contract.
Superintendent Brad Neavin said that part of the goal of the contract was to begin bringing the salaries of teachers in years 1-10 back into line with other districts. Those salaries became skewed when many young teachers were laid off during the district’s financial crisis a few years ago. As such, the salary structure became top heavy.
“When we cut teachers several years ago the younger teachers got below the market line,” Neavin said. “We could not afford to fix that in one contract, but this contract starts to address it. Our base is still competitive”
The base salary is the entry salary of a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no years of experience.
The salary schedule increases with experience and education. For example, a teacher with 10 years of service and a Master’s Degree would earn $55,265 in 2017, and that same teacher with 30 years of experience would earn $71,429.
The top salary on the schedule is reserved for teachers with 31 or more years of service and 45 hours of education beyond a Master’s Degree. That salary is $83, 314 and stays static beyond 31 years of experience.
Classified staff, which includes maintenance, custodians, secretaries, food service employees, and teacher aides, also saw increases to their hourly rate. It is difficult to ascertain an exact percentage as they appear to be different some categories than others.
However, under the new agreement, hourly rates will increase $0.40 per hour in each of the final two years of the contract.
New to the agreement is an attendance incentive. Full-time employees can earn up to $800 per year for perfect attendance over the course of an entire school year. Those missing just one day of the year can earn up to $500. Part time employees can earn half of those amounts.
The incentive will be reviewed during the 2019-20 school year to determine if attendance has improved as a result of the incentive and whether to continue it.
There was no change in the percentage of contributions to health care coverage. Currently, the district pays 85% of costs with staff picking up the other 15%. Employees with more than one dependent pay an additional $15 per pay period.
Negotiators with the Vandalia-Butler Education Association (VBEA) and the district spent a year reviewing every article of the contract – a first as far as either is aware. That resulted in clarification of language and a reduction in the contract’s length.
“We re-wrote the contract over the course of an entire year,” said Neavin. “There was some language in the old one I didn’t even know what it said. The old contract had references to the ORC that didn’t exist anymore. We also removed transportation language except that if transportation ever comes in-house again, the VBEA is named as the bargaining unit.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.