FWCS officially approves pay hikes
26 Oct 2021 — Journal Gazette
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Ashley Sloboda

It's official : Fort Wayne Community Schools is investing almost $21 million to give most employees 4% raises this year and next.

Of that, 13.8 million will go to teachers : 6.8 million in year one and 7 million in year two :while 3.4 million will go toward non-teaching staff each year, Kathy Friend told the board Monday. She is the district's chief financial officer.

Board members : who discussed the teachers contract in September : again thanked lawmakers for approving a state budget that allows the almost 30,000-student district to increase salaries and wages.

"I think that that's an important point to make, that we couldn't do it without them," member Jennifer Matthias said. "Hopefully, we'll continue to see those increases."

Maria Norman, board vice president, agreed.

"It's very well-deserved," she said, referencing the challenges and extra work the pandemic created. "It has been pivoting and then pivoting again and then doing a 360, turning on your head, hopping around backwards, dancing a jig."

With one member absent, the board unanimously passed the teachers' collective bargaining agreement. Similarly, the Fort Wayne Education Association ratified the contract Sept. 24 with approval of all teachers who voted.

"I don't know when I've ever seen a 100% vote, but it happened," Superintendent Mark Daniel said. "I think that tells you how much we're trying to collaborate and work together."

The board had to vote twice more to get raises for the other employees.

Members first unanimously ratified three unions' contracts that were reopened exclusively to renegotiate compensation. The negotiated changes will help recruit and retain bus drivers, nurses and classified staff, including electricians, plumbers, mechanics and grounds maintenance, the administration said.

The board then addressed all active permanent staff not represented by a collective bargaining unit, such as principals, assistant principals, managers, supervisors, instructional assistants and guidance counselors.

Permanent staff doesn't include substitutes, temporary or inactive employees.

These raises passed unanimously with member Noah Smith abstaining because the increases affect his wife, although he noted he "whole-heartedly" supported the pay bumps.

Norman clarified with Charles Cammack Jr., the district's chief operations officer, about the number of employees destined for bigger paychecks.

"So, everyone across the board is getting a 4% raise, then, except for school board members and the superintendent?" she asked.

FWCS has about 4,000 employees, including about 1,800 teachers.

Some people won't get the raises, Cammack said, describing the quantity as "very, very few."


This story is provided free courtesy of The Fort Wayne Newspapers.
"FWCS officially approves pay hikes" Journal Gazette 26 Oct 2021: A1