By Sadie Hunter
Even though the school year has already begun, teachers have just gotten their contract for the 2015-16 school year.
Approved at the Sept. 15 school board meeting, Noblesville Schools and the Noblesville Teacher’s Forum reached an agreement on the contract ratified Sept. 8.
Within the contract, teachers who are rated effective or highly effective will receive, on average, a 4.3 percent base pay increase.
Other benefits of the new contract include an increased district payout for the teacher basic health care benefit plan and the creation of an emergency leave category for needs beyond “normal” circumstances.
“The decline in teacher compensation and teacher hiring shortages are matters that teachers and districts around the state are struggling with,” said Supt. Dr. Beth Niedermeyer in a press release. “We need to ensure that teacher compensation is a priority and that we’re in a strong position to attract and retain the best quality educators for our students. This new contract reflects how much we appreciate our teachers, and it’s also an initial step in addressing the challenges we face today.”
A signing bonus for first-year teachers recently out of college will also be a feature of the contract. Noblesville Schools says this is an effort to “recruit top talent.”
Along the same lines, the district said, to provide more time to recruit and hire high-quality replacements, an expanded and enhanced retirement stipend will be offered.
“The Noblesville Teachers’ Forum and Noblesville Schools share a common interest in ensuring the highest quality education for our students,” said Forum President Deb Marcum in a press release. “Attracting, retaining, and rewarding excellent teachers is essential to the growth and success of our community. This contract represents a positive step forward in future collaboration and decision-making for what is best for Noblesville Schools.”