Tuesday, November 30

Heights School Board approves new contract for pay increases

Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Heights School Corporation. Mutual respect, common goals, and strong collaboration between administrators and educators bring untold benefits to the corporation and classroom through the updated contract for teachers and classified staff. It’s Hamilton Heights’ educator-friendly and student-focused environment that attracts and retains high caliber educators and staff. Talented educators like art teacher Erin Goodman, inspire students to excel in arts, education, agricultural technology, and athletics at HHSC.

The Board of School Trustees of the Hamilton Heights School Corporation unanimously approved the Hamilton Heights Classroom Teachers Association’s (HHCTA) 2021-23 teacher’s contract at its October 20, 2021, meeting.

The Administrative and HHCTA teams met at the beginning of the school year to negotiate the new Master Contract for teachers. The bargaining process went smoothly and together a contract was created for Heights’ teachers that met the major interests including respect, transparency, simplistic, compliant, fiscally responsible and focus on attracting and retaining high caliber educators and staff.

For the past several years, HHCTA and the Administration have used the Interest Based Problem Solving Process during the bargaining sessions. This process focuses on first creating a consensus of contract objectives followed by small groups of HHCTA and Administration members working together to develop options and designs of a conceptual agreement. It continues to be an effective, efficient, successful process that has been well-received by all parties involved.

For the two-year contract, a simplified salary schedule will be implemented with 2021-2022 considered a transition year to address the compaction issue for teachers. Teachers will see an average increase of 8.37% for 2021-22 and 4.72% in 2022-23, and an ECA scheduled increase of 2%.

For classified staff, many of the positions were adjusted to align competitively with peer/area schools. Classified staff will see an average increase of 7.76% in 2021-22 and 4.46% average increase in 2022-23. Administrative Staff will see an average increase of 4.92% in 2022-21 and 4.46% in 2022-23.

The estimated total financial impact for all staff over this two-year period is $1,935,885.00.

“With this round of bargaining, the School Board of Trustees and Administration demonstrated its commitment to make Hamilton Heights a wonderful place for students to thrive, learn and grow in an outstanding nurturing environment,” said Dr. Kevin Cavanaugh, President of the HHSC School Board of Trustees. “Over the last several years, Heights’ facilities have undergone a significant upgrade and now our commitment to the most important piece of education, the teachers and staff have received a significant investment to ensure that Heights retains and attracts the highest quality talent in education possible. The collaborative work on both sides of the bargaining table demonstrates the commitment to bettering the education of our students at Hamilton Heights.”

Connie Kolb, a veteran educator with more than 25 years of classroom teaching experience at Heights said, “bargaining at HHSC is a very enjoyable experience!” “This is because our Superintendent, School Board, Administration, Teachers, and Union Representatives have a common goal of doing what is best for our students, teachers, and school as a whole,” Kolb explained. “There is trust, transparency, and a spirit of cooperation that is unique and appreciated by all parties involved in our process.”

Leslie Kortzendorf, who teaches special education at the Middle School, agrees. “HHCTA has a great relationship with our Administrators,” she added. “We work very well with Admin to get what is best for teachers.”

This was Ryan McCleary’s, a social studies teacher at the high school, first time at the bargaining table at Heights. “I was very impressed with the entire process,” said McCleary, while just starting his third year at Heights, is not new to the field. “Working with our corporation on our mutual interests was extremely helpful rather than ‘us versus them.’ Knowing what I know now about the process, I think we have an ideal system set up to benefit everyone involved.”

“Everyone involved in this year’s bargaining process worked toward ensuring that Hamilton Heights is able to attract and retain quality teachers through advancements in salary, benefits, compensation, and language,” explained Julie Davis, a retired educator and member of Hamilton Heights School Board. “As someone who has worked on the Negotiations Team from both a teacher’s and now an administrator’s perspective, I am pleased to see how the process has developed into one which value everyone’s input and seeks common goals. The group displayed transparency and a sense of unity in order to make decisions which will benefit our staff, and ultimately our students.”

Dr. Derek Arrowood, Hamilton Heights Superintendent, credits the approval of the latest contract to a well-defined process, finding common ground, testament to the caliber of personnel we have working in our district and their passion for our students’ overall experience at Heights, and the corporation’s commitment to attracting and retaining high quality educators. “We are incredibly blessed to have the caliber of educators we have at Heights,” he noted. “Investing in our educators pays off in big dividends for our students.”

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