Interim Superintendent Chuck Kitchell says teachers’ pay level will be similar to what other local school corporations are offering. “A zero-year teacher through five years, we’re going to pay between $32,500 and $33,000,” he said. “You can go across the board, Argos is going to pay $32,000 to $37,000. Bremen’s going to pay $33,000 to $38,000.”
He adds the pay scale was designed to minimize the pay gap between teachers who are new to the corporation, and those with the same amount of experience who are already teaching at Culver. But to help keep Culver Schools competitive, the contract also allows the superintendent to offer teachers up to $5,000 more than the specified maximum.
Kitchell says this provision is critical for attracting teachers to the corporation. “We don’t have to just offer that teacher $33,000,” he says. “If we need to get that teacher, the superintendent can offer $38,000. And then there’s another clause in our contract that says with agreement of the [teachers] association, we can go above the $5,000. I was very concerned that we might lose a very good teacher because we can’t go any higher than $38,000, and the teacher says ‘I want $39,000 or $40,000, and I’m not sure it’s right to lose a good teacher over $2,000.”
School Board member Bill Sonnemaker also stressed the importance of bringing the best teachers to the corporation. “The people that worked real hard on the contract and getting together did a great job,” he said. “I would just like to see it much, much more. I’d like to see that we’re paying more than anybody else so we can attract the best. It goes back to, I can’t believe that [since] the most important asset that a family has is their children, that they don’t want to see that they’re taught properly and we pay for the proper teacher for that.”
Kitchell told school board members that an agreement was reached on the second night of contract negotiations.