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Trinity Standard - Local News

Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company

 

Minimum $1,200 pay raise eyed by TISD
Trinity Standard -

TRINITY — In hopes of making local jobs more attractive to teachers, a minimum $1,200 per year salary increase is being studied by the Trinity School Board. In addition, the board also is looking at a plan that would increase the school's insurance contribution to each teacher by another $1,200 per year. During their meeting Monday, Business Manager Kevin Parish outlined the district's financial position for the 2013-14 school year and presented various options regarding increased stipends, salaries and insurance benefits. A stipend is the extra pay given to a teacher who either takes on additional duties or who teaches in a subject area that is hard to fill. During the meeting, the board approved new stipends for the junior high golf coach, the cheerleading coach and added a stipend to football and volleyball coaches' salaries for 10 more days of service during the coming year. While the salary and insurance increases will not be put to a vote until the board approves the new budget for the coming school year, comments made by the board members Monday night indicate they would support the proposed increases. In his report, Parish noted that during the coming school year, the district would have the money to fund all of the proposed increases. He noted that the state legislature has agreed to return at least $1.5 billion of the money that it removed from education last year during the statewide budget crisis. "That means that we will receive an additional $307,000 in income next year," Parish said. "And there is talk that they might increase education funding by $2.5 billion. If they do, we will receive even more that the $307,000." Coupled with the additional state money, Parish said the district expects to reduce its spending by a little over $300,000 next year. The savings will primarily come from the closing of the Trinity Intermediate School Campus. The business manager said that the district will be able to reduce the number of support staff needed, adding that the job losses will be handled by not replacing existing staff members who are leaving. Combined with the additional state money, Parish said the district will have about $607,000 to fund new programs, higher salaries and improved benefits. In terms of insurance, each teacher is currently credited with $150 per month from the school and $75 from the state to pay for medical insurance. By increasing the local contribution to $250 per month, Superintendent Dave Plymale said the district and state would cover the entire cost of basic insurance for the employee. If the teacher wanted to cover a spouse and/or children, or if they wanted to reduce the deductible and co-payments, they could select a higher plan and pay the difference in cost. The additional cost to the school for the higher insurance payment would be $112,000 per year. Parish added that during the coming year the district also hopes to hire an additional counselor, a culinary arts instructor and an instructional technician. Other changes planned include additional stipends for science teachers, mentors and department heads. When coupled with the stipends approved Monday night, Parish said the district would have $376,702 left for salary increases. He then presented four options on the pay raises. Because teachers are paid in "steps" based on their years of experience, Plymale said Option 3 provided the best salary package for all levels of teachers. Depending on what "step" the individual teachers are on, some would receive more but all would receive at least an additional $1,200 per year. "Option 3 will cost a little over $368,000 next year but that still leaves you in the black by $8,676," Parish said. Board says farewell At the start of the meeting, the board held a brief ceremony to present plaques to outgoing board members Steve Tyler and Gary Gallant. Both board members did not seek re-election this year and Monday's meeting and their replacements will be sworn into office at the May board meeting. Tyler, who has served for the past 15 years, voiced his thanks to the community for electing him and to his fellow board members for "ignoring my eccentricities." "We've come a long way from where we were when I got on the board," he said. Gallant, who has served for nine years, also expressed his thanks to the community and the board, adding he feels he is leaving the district in good hands. He noted that he has worked with three superintendents during his time in office and helped select the current one, Plymale. "I knew when we interviewed him the first time that he was the man for the job," Gallant said. He noted that since Plymale's arrival, test scores have improved, graduation rates have increased and "students are being directed to become more productive citizens." Gallant noted that over the past two years, security at the school has been upgraded – "Something that was number one in importance to me" – and local students have gained pride through achievements in UIL academic and athletic competitions. Other business During the meeting, the board also: • Approved a 5 percent pay increase for Plymale. • Amended the current school calendar making Thursday, June 6, a teacher work day and Friday, June 7, a bad weather day. Originally, June 6 was the bad weather day and June 7 was the work day but Plymale noted that since the school district did not lose any days due to weather this year, the school will be closed on June 7

 

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