South Bend School Corporation keeps promise during teacher salary negotiations

South Bend School Corporation keeps promise during teacher salary negotiations
Posted on 11/05/2021
Jefferson teacher and student

Increasing teachers’ salaries was a priority that the South Bend Community School Corporation promised would occur if the referendum of 2020 passed, and it’s a promise the corporation has kept, according to Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings.

“Teacher raises have been and still are a top priority to this corporation,” Cummings said. “Without the passage of the referendum last year, we would not have been able to raise beginning teacher salaries to $41,000 to give every teacher in our corporation raises last year, nor would we have been able to make offers for additional raises this year.”

Recent reports have mischaracterized current negotiations, indicating that SBCSC administrators said no money from the referendum was available for raises, which is not the case.

Immediately following passage of the referendum last year, every teacher in the South Bend Community School Corporation was given a $2,000 raise. Those teachers with six or more years of experience received $2,500; additionally, every teacher who returned this year received a $700 stipend, and those who received an evaluation rating of “highly effective” received $1,200 stipends.

“We can never put a dollar amount on all the work teachers do for our students. However, we still must work within budget constraints and are charged with balancing school safety, teacher pay, academic outcomes, and declining enrollment on top of managing circuit breaker loss,” Fowler added.

“We have already used more than $3 million for last year’s raises, and we have made offers during this year’s negotiations that include additional raises. If the referendum had not passed, we would not have been able to give raises last year nor would we be able to put offers on the table this year during these negotiations.”

Leading up to the referendum vote, the corporation promised to use $4.1 million for teacher salary increases if the referendum passed. To date, the corporation has spent $3.1 million of that total on teacher raises, with additional funds offered during salary negotiations that would propel the corporation’s salary increase expenditures above and beyond the promised $4.1 million. Under state law, statewide teacher bargaining wraps up on November 15.

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