By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Over the next two years, the district’s teachers still will receive their contract step increases, but also will be responsible for paying more — an additional 1 percent each year — toward their health benefits.
The new, two-year contract approved last week by the Campbell Board of Education and the Campbell Education Association, the union representing the district’s educators, will be in effect through June 30, 2015.
“Here at Campbell City Schools, the teachers are hard-working and dedi- cated. We want them to know that they are appreciated,” said Matthew Bowen, superintendent. “We feel that we have come to a fair and mutually acceptable agreement, without affecting our kids, programs and extracurriculars.”
Per the new contract, teachers eligible for step raises, or incremental salary increases based upon educational qualifications and years of service, will receive them in the 2013-14 academic year. The teachers’ contract, Bowen, said includes 15 steps — “opportunities” for movement.
Those employed during the 2012-13 academic year but not eligible for a step raise will instead receive a one-time $500 stipend.
No such stipend is available for those same teachers during the 2014-15 academic year, though those who are then eligible for step raises still will receive them. A 1 percent raise also will be added to all base salaries.
For example, Bowen said, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree would be hired at an annual salary of $32,325 for the 2013-14 academic year. For the 2014-15 academic year, however, this starting salary would be bumped to $32,648, thanks to the automatic 1 percent base-salary raise. Similarly, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree but 27 years of service would make $61,418 in the 2013-14 academic year, but $62,031 in 2014-15, Bowen said.
Colleen Joss, spokeswoman for the CEA and a 12th-grade English teacher at Campbell Memorial High School, said the 1 percent raise for the 2014-15 academic year is “at least a step in the right direction.”
“The teachers haven’t had a raise in years,” she said. “Hopefully, now we’ll be able to start making up for some of that lost time in terms of wages earned.”
The new contract also addresses the district’s health-care plan, which consists of medical, prescription, dental and vision coverage. Beginning Jan. 1, teachers will contribute 10 percent to the health- insurance premium, then 11 percent the following year, Bowen said.
In the previous contract, which was accepted in 2011 and expired July 1, teachers paid 6 percent toward the premium in 2012 and 9 percent in 2013.
In addition, teachers previously funneled 10 percent of their annual pay into the state teachers retirement system.
Recent changes in law, though, will require that teachers’ annual contribution increase to 11 percent beginning this academic year, and then will increase by 1 percent every year until employees contribute 14 percent toward their retirement, Bowen said.
Overall, Joss said, she and the district’s teachers are looking forward to the upcoming school year, especially in light of recent challenges.
“We’d like to continue to have a positive working relationship with the students, the community and the board of education,” Joss said.