Hamilton Southeastern teachers have already given their seal of approval for a two-year contract after ratifying an agreement Sept. 23. Now, the contract is ready for school board approval.
At the board’s Oct. 9 meeting, Mike Reuter, CFO at Hamilton Southeastern Schools highlighted some of the major features of the contract, the most notable of which will be raises for teachers.
“We have a blend of increases,” Reuter said. “The average increase, which is a very, very strong increase for our contract, is at 5.68 percent, the top level being $81,346, and the bottom level being $40,961. At the bottom of that, the raises actually range from 2 percent to 9.6 percent. If you were at the top of schedule, you’re getting a 2 percent (raise), but if you’re anywhere between the starting and ending, you’re receiving various raises to get us to the point of equalizing the (pay levels). Those levels now will be 2.9 percent between each one going forward. By 2021, I think we will have a very attractive teacher contract, very competitive.”
In 2021, teachers will see an average 3.29 percent increase.
Another big change in the agreement, compared to previous contracts, affects health benefit plans.
“We had to deal with some health insurance increases,” Reuter said. “In order to mitigate that increase, we made plan modifications.”
In the past, HSE’s primary plan offered a 90/10 percent split for co-pays. In the proposed contract, this would change to an 80/20 split. The contract also introduces a new plan, Plan 2, for teachers.
“It’s a health savings account. This is a less-expensive plan but with higher deductibles,” Reuter said. “Keep in mind that our employees have a health center that is free to them. So, if someone is not a heavy user of our health plan, I could see why Plan 2 might become attractive to them because if the health center meets all of their needs, they may want to opt for a health savings account.”
Overall, the cost of the contract in the first year is $7,330,082, and the second year is $3,228,604, for a total cost of $10,588,686.
“That is a rather large sum of money that we’re putting towards raises,” Reuter said.
If approved by the school board, the contract will be retroactive to July 1, 2019, and end June 30, 2021.
The board’s Oct. 9 meeting served as a public hearing, but no residents spoke in that time. The board will vote on the contract at its next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Hamilton Southeastern Schools’ Central Office, 13485 Cumberland Rd.