By Ralph Echtinaw
St. Louis teachers are getting a raise this month along with a new three-year contract.
A new hire right out of college would get $37,141 per year, and the maximum any teacher can make is $73,949 per year.
The contract was approved unanimously by school board members (less the absent Jeff Baker) Monday night. It expires on June 30, 2024.
Superintendent Jennifer McKittrick expects to spend $3,173,583 on teacher pay this school year, a 4.12 percent increase over 2019-2020 wages.
The district employs a complex wage scale that uses 30 “steps” (or positions on a scale) and credit for advanced degrees.
Steps are not automatic but rather negotiated. All 58 teachers (and two more after vacant positions are filled) receive one step increase immediately. In addition, the pay level for each of the 30 steps rises by 1 percent.
Thirty of the teachers will receive a second step. These individuals qualify for the extra step because they were in the district in 2012 when there was a step freeze, or because they were hired in 2013-2015 and received no credit for years of service.
All teachers will receive another step in the second year of the contract, and the dollar amount of each step will rise by 1.5 percent.
Extracurricular advisors for student groups like the drama club and student council get a 10 percent raise in the contract’s second year. The amount that such advisors get now ranges from $100 to $2,050, depending on what group they advise.
There is no scheduled raise for the contract’s third year, but there will be a “wage opener” where that year’s raise, if any, will be negotiated with the teachers union.
“I feel very good about this for our teaching staff,” McKittrick said.
McKittrick said the unofficial student count is 997. But the district’s state aid in the 2020-21 school year was based on 1,016 students, so there will likely be a decrease in state aid after the count date (Oct. 6), certification deadline (Nov. 10) and recertification deadline (Nov. 17), McKittrick said. “I will have the final audited numbers after the re-certification deadline.”
Student aid meeting set
High School Principal Eric Huff is trying something new with the annual meeting to help parents and students apply for federal student aid for college; having it on a Sunday.
This year’s meeting will be on Sunday, Oct. 3, in the high school media center. The starting time is to be determined.
Huff hopes the change to Sunday will boost attendance at the annual meeting that is “typically not well attended.”
A representative from Mid Michigan Community College will be there.
Online, remote “virtual learning” was made available to students this year, but only five enrolled, making the jobs of the four women hired to teach them fairly easy.
These women are Tiffany LaBlance (kindergarten to second grade), Alyssa Camp (grades three to five), Angela Ziems-Starry (grades six through eight) and Erin Busch-Grabmeyer (grades nine through 12).
Additions and subtractions
Elementary gym teacher Brian Tomanek resigned to take a job with Dewitt Schools.
The following new hires were approved Monday: Sarah Moulton as Carrie Knause administrative assistant, Lynn Wood as Carie Knause paraprofessional, Rylee and Sherri Zimmermann as Carrie Knause special education paraprofessionals, Jennifer Gotaas as Nikkari custodian, Macie Salladay as seventh grade volleyball coach and John Stovall as assistant varsity football coach.
Macie Salladay is the daughter of board member Carrie Salladay. She graduated from St. Louis High School with the class of 2021.