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South Bend schools reach tentative agreement with teachers union after mediation

South Bend Schools
Justin Hicks
/

The South Bend Community School Corporation has reached a tentative two-year agreement with NEA-South Bend, the local teacher’s union, on teacher salaries and benefits.

That’s after negotiations reached an impasse last month, causing the state to bring in a mediator.

The union and school district previously disagreed on the size of teacher raises, how those raises should be distributed based on seniority and the lack of referendum funding going toward teacher pay.

The new tentative agreement provides higher raises and larger stipends than the school corporation’s most recent proposal.

If the agreement is approved, teachers with four or more years of experience can expect raises $120 to $620 larger than the corporation’s last proposal before negotiations broke down, and one-time stipends $275 to $1,200 larger.

The tentative agreement breaks down first-year raises on the following scale:

  • 1 to 3 years of experience: $1,600 
  • 4 to 6 years of experience: $2,300
  • 7 to 9 years of experience: $3,000 
  • 10 to 23 years of experience: $3,300 
  • 24 or more years of experience: $2,500 

In the second year, teachers with one to three years of experience would get $1,620 raises, and teachers with four or more years of experience would get $2,370 raises.

The tentative agreement also provides one-time stipends of $775 for teachers with one to six years of experience and $1,700 for teachers with seven or more years.

If the agreement is approved, teacher starting salaries will rise from $40,000 to $43,000 over two years. On average, teachers will receive a 5.9 percent raise in the first year and a 4.1 percent raise in the second year of the contract.

In total, the school corporation would spend $5.92 million on teacher raises and $1.66 million on stipends over the next two years.

In terms of benefits, the tentative agreement establishes a new health savings account plan with a $1,000 contribution from the school corporation.

The school corporation will also cover half the cost of premium increases in the 2022 plan year, and will consider reopening negotiations if premiums increase in 2023.

The agreement also includes continued stipends for teachers with high performance ratings and who receive National Board Certification, and $70-an-hour compensation for teachers who provided extended learning during the 2021-22 school year.

The teacher’s union ratified the agreement Monday, and the school board is set to approve it at a special meeting Friday morning.

Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.