A new collective bargaining agreement between the Crawfordsville Education Association and Crawfordsville Community School Corp. remains focused on retaining and rewarding current staff while attracting new teachers.
On Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Rex Ryker praised CEA representatives for their part in the negotiations and outlined several key areas.
The new agreement provides an average salary increase of $2,918. The district’s new base teacher salaries range from $46,400 to $82,800, with a new average of $59,646, up from $57,056 last year.
The agreement includes an incentive and reward for earning graduate degrees. Individuals with a content-area master’s degree will receive an additional $1,500 and $2,500 for a content-area degree beyond a master’s degree.
The district also increased its retirement match by 25%, and the high school extra-curricular activity schedule by $26,405.
To show further gratitude toward teachers who have been with the district for 20 or more years, a progressive longevity stipend will be paid into the employees’ retirement fund that increases from $500 to $1,000 for every five-year increment. Parental leave was increased to 10 paid days and there were no increases in health insurance costs.
“It did help that in general we had very similar goals when we sat down initially,” Ryker said.
Emily Race, who served as CEA chair in the negotiations, categorized the negotiations as rewarding and pleasant. Race praised her committee, which included Stacey Guard and Lexi Carson, and Ryker for all of their efforts to reach this agreement.
“I want to thank the board for your ongoing support of our teachers,” Race said.
Race added that the membership vote was unanimous, and she was proud of the agreement that was reached.
The board also approved a classified salary schedule that gives aides a starting wage that is 12% higher than last year. Bus driver pay also increased 8.3% from last year. All other adjustments represent a 4% increase.
In other business, the board:
• Approved updated language to school policy regarding the selection of media center materials. The change reflects recent legislation pertaining to material that is considered “obscene” or “harmful to minors.” Indiana Code is referenced in the updated policy and includes the legal definitions for “obscene” or “harmful to minors.”
• Approved early dismissal for elementary students on April 8, 2024, as part of the district’s response to the total solar eclipse that will take place at approximately 3:06 p.m. Eastern. This will allow for drop-off of elementary students before the eclipse is significant. Secondary students will have a complete day as the eclipse will conclude before those students are dismissed. Many secondary teachers have been planning lessons and activities for that day.
• Learned the district has entered into a working agreement with Kinum Inc. of Indianapolis for debt collection, specifically for curricular material rental and food service. The district will continue to utilize Tax Refund Exchange and Compliance System to maximize its debt collections.
• Learned the district will expand its relationship with Frontline Education to move its timekeeping and attendance maintenance to a paperless system, beginning next semester.
• Learned the district received conditional approval for the Special Education Part B grant that covers payroll and benefits for special education teachers. The district also received a competitive K-12 Robotics Grant from the Indiana Department of Education. The $20,000 grant covers robotics coaching stipends as well as supplies for the three high school teams. The grant may be extended in the future to help cover expenses to expand the high school team and add middle school teams.
• Learned the district achieved its Legally Licensed Exempt Provider status for the preschool to allow accepting vouchers for preschool students. The district is preparing to offer a five-day, full-day early learning center option.
In personnel matters, the board:
• Accepted the resignations of Katie Compton, Hose Title I reading specialist; Leah Sizemore, Hose teachers’ aide; and Korey Warren, Nicholson speech language pathologist.
• Accepted the retirement of Andy Craig, CMS physical education teacher.
• Accepted the employment of Kaylee Fletcher, Hose library assistant; Jami Booker, Hose reading interventionist; and Ivy Ballenger, Hoover special education assistant.
The next board meeting is 5:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at Hoover Elementary School.