Login NowClose 
Sign In to chronicle-tribune.com           
Forgot Password
or if you have not registered since 8/22/18
Click Here to Create an Account

Ole Miss board approves raises

by Grace Hooley - ghooley@chronicle-tribune.com

The Mississinewa Community School Corporation (MCSC) board approved a salary increase, bargaining agreement and middle school Washington, D.C. 2020 trip at a meeting on Monday.

The board approved a 3 percent salary increase for classified employees, or any employee other than teachers and administrators, and a 4 percent increase for cafeteria employees.

Superintendent Tab McKenzie said he believes the extra increase in the cafeteria employees’ salary will manifest an ambitious atmosphere within the foodservice workers in Grant County.

“I think it’s kind of an American tradition to expect to get a raise every year, and obviously we want to be very competitive to attract the best employees in the area,” McKenzie said.

Classified staff receive a raise every year, but this year’s increase is double that of last year’s due to 39 new student enrollments overall, officials said.

MCSC had budgeted to lose 35 students this year, so gaining 39 instead was a welcome surprise, especially after five years of declining enrollment previous to that, according to McKenzie.

“Grant County is just losing population, and most of the schools in Grant County are regularly experiencing declining enrollment,” McKenzie said. “Some districts in the county are losing students faster than others, but it’s not anything about the quality of education in the schools in the county. It’s just the overall population is declining.”

The board also approved the collective bargaining agreement with the Mississinewa Teachers Association (MTA).

According to MTA’s president, Bob Elson, the negotiation atmosphere was a positive one that allowed for free speech.

McKenzie noted that the goals of the negotiations were to decide on a salary agreement that both the administration and the school board felt was affordable for the district and also maximized what could be offered. The board approved a $2,200 increase for all teachers, and the board has agreed to pay any insurance increase.

“We wanted a raise, and we wanted a substantial one. And you know, we heard down in Indianapolis how education was going to be a priority, and so we wanted to make sure that came about. And that was one of their goals too,” Elson said.

The RJ Baskett Middle School Washington, D.C. trip was also approved for June 2020.

Jamie Eckstein, RJ Baskett’s principal, advocated for social studies teacher Leah Colvin and her involvement in this trip over the years.

“I want to extend my support of her in this program and offering this to our students,” Eckstein told the board. “She has attended each trip that we have had and was one of our founders in coming up with the idea of even dreaming to take our students to Washington, D.C.”

The trip will involve 50 seventh- and eighth-grade students, and a coupon car wash will be held to help fundraise. Colvin said she hopes to have eight to 10 chaperones helping out as well.

With the approval of this trip, more than 200 students will have been able to experience Washington, D.C. and the memories that come with it.

“Right now, public education is not respected and valued, but I can tell this board with 100 percent certainty, you have teachers and administrators that love our kids and are committed to it. And they view education as the most honorable profession there is,” Assistant Superintendent Lezlie Winter said.