The Herald Bulletin

December 10, 2013

Most ACS officials get raises

Group of teachers protests the decision

By Randy Rendfeld The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Anderson school administrators got raises approved Tuesday by the Anderson Community Schools board while a contingent of teachers showed up to protest.

The board voted unanimously to approve a total of $52,875 in raises for the central office and school building administrators, as well as administrative assistants.

Meanwhile, the Anderson Federation of Teachers argued that teachers haven’t gotten raises since 2008.

”To vote in favor of these raises is wrong!” Tom Forkner, AFT president, told the board. “It is a slap in the face of every hardworking employee in the corporation. It is the same as saying ‘Ha ha, I got mine and you get nothing.’”

Recently passed Indiana laws have changed the method of pay for administrators and teachers so that it’s based on performance. Education level and experience may account for up to a third of a performance evaluation now, Dr. Tim Edsell, ACS interim superintendent, said.

Edsell said he sensed an “us versus them mentality” at Tuesday’s meeting. “The excellent teachers, we need to reward them,” Edsell said. “Let’s work toward pursuing excellence. ... I propose let’s embrace evaluation.”

ACS Board President Jean Chaille told teachers the board values them. “We wish we could designate a large percentage of our staff as effective and highly effective teachers,” she said. “But the only way to do that is to evaluate you. And I know that day will come, and we will welcome that date when it does come.”

Former AFT President Rick Muir, who still is the state teachers federation president, compared the administrative raises to “throwing salt in wounds” or “gas on a fire” in a phone interview earlier Tuesday. He said teachers haven’t had a raise since 2008. Teachers who have less than 20 years experience get an incremental raise. But those at the top of the scale don’t.

As long as the master teachers contract isn’t reopened to bargain pay or benefits, the language in the 150-plus-page contract should remain intact until Dec. 31, 2018. If the contract is reopened, for example to discuss pay or benefits, much of the contract language could be voided, according to some legal interpretations.

Muir has said that the school board could give stipends to teachers without reopening the contract. “The people out in the trenches are getting slapped and they’re getting hurt,” said Muir, who did not attend the meeting.

Edsell said stipends would cause “grave concerns” with two state agencies, the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board and the State Board of Accounts. “I know that’s a futuristic possibility,” he said.

Teachers Elise Matthews and Marisa Graham also addressed the board and spoke of their displeasure with the raises.

Administrative raises included: $2,250 for Beth Clark, assistant superintendent; Joe Crock, operations; Kevin Brown, business; Eric Creviston, human resources; Ryan Glaze, curriculum and instruction; Angie Vickery, special education; Greg Kalisz, student services; Roger Shockley, facilities; Julie Morse, AHS administrator; Judi Shafer, Edgewood Elementary; and Sharon Buchanon, Killbuck kindergarten administrator.

Administrative raises of $3,000 were given to: Leanna Muckenhirn, food services; Scott Merkel, Erskine Elementary; Yvonne Ritchey, Tenth Street Elementary; and Jan Koeniger, Valley Grove Elementary.

No raises were given to Kelly Durr, Eric Davis or Jason Stecher at Highland Middle School, who were listed as “improvement necessary.” The same status was given to Jennette Harris, AHS administrator, and Val Scott, Eastside Elementary administrator.

Raises were listed as not applicable to: Edsell; AHS administrators Terry Thompson, Jeff Brandes and David Tijerina; Anderson Elementary Administrator Franklin Corye; and Southview Preschool Administrator Shelly Wagner.

Contact Randy Rendfeld at randy.rendfeld@heraldbulletin.com or 640-4861.

Other business The Anderson Community Schools board also considered these items Tuesday. u The ACS board voted to change the number of credits needed to graduate from Anderson High School after a presentation given by Jeff Brandes, AHS administrator. The number had been 45 credits at AHS while the Indiana Department of Education required only 40 and schools in the same conference as AHS require just 40, except Richmond which requires 42. The change to 40 is effective in spring 2014. u The board also heard reports on student career programs, and early college credit programs at AHS from Julie Morse and David Tijerina, school administrators.