New contract includes salary increase for Brandywine teachers

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Brandywine teachers will receive a two-percent pay raise as part of a three-year contract approved Monday by the Brandywine Community Schools Board of Education.

The teachers’ union ratified the deal last week and Monday’s unanimous decision by the board made it official.

“Overall it is one of the better contracts we’ve seen in years,” said Deb Carew, teachers’ union president.

Brandywine Supt. John Jarpe described the contract as a win-win for teachers and district. The teachers’ last contract expired in June.

“It was definitely a lengthy process and I appreciate everyone’s willingness to keep working and stick with it,” he said. “It was never acrimonious — it was always working together to try and get there. I am sorry it did take longer than typical years, but I am very gratified that we have a three-year agreement.”

Jarpe said contracts normally last two years and that the length of this contract is the longest he can remember.

As part of the new deal, the district’s educators will receive a two-percent increase on all salary steps this school year and next school year.

A salary step is an increase in salary based on previous experience, and, as additional years of experience are accumulated, teachers move into higher steps and receive a higher salary.

“We’ve not had such large increases two years in a row,” said Carew.

The financial portion of the contract — benefits and salary — will be renegotiated for the 2017-18 school year.

The contract also includes better dental/vision plans and provides longevity payments for teachers whose years of experience go beyond the district’s top salary steps.

Carew said the longevity payments are new and something teachers have been working toward including in their contract for a while.

“It is nice to see the board recognizing being here so many years is worth something to them,” she said.

Carew said some teachers are nervous about a portion of the contract known as “step jeopardy.”

With “step jeopardy,” she explained, teachers who are evaluated as minimally effective or ineffective during the 2016-17 school year will not be eligible to go up a step in salary or receive longevity payments. This would begin in the 2017-18 school year.

“We are nervous about that because of all the changes in assessment at the state level… it seems like it is changing every day,” she said. “To have our livelihoods based on something that is changing all the time is nerve racking.”