New contract: Teachers with master’s degrees could make nearly $90K by 2020

By on June 22, 2016

Warwick School District teachers have a four-year contract that will take them through June 2020.

At Tuesday’s Warwick School Board meeting, the collective bargaining agreement between the Warwick School District and the Warwick Education Association was approved. Representatives from the district and the association had been in negotiation since October 2015.

According to WEA president Lisa Hochreiter, who is an agriculture science teacher at Warwick High School, the main areas that had to be negotiated were salary, benefits and health care.

Hochreiter has been WEA president since 2010, and she attributed the smooth completion of negotiations to “both sides working on clearly communicating the issues at hand.”

One of the most noteworthy changes to the health care provisions for teachers is a third option for a qualified high deductible health plan with a health savings account.

Warwick School District superintendent April Hershey agreed with Hochreiter’s assessment of the process to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement.

“All aspects of the contract were evaluated, but as is usual, the three main topics were salary, benefits and time. There are minor changes in all areas,” she said.

Hershey also pointed out that concerns about staffing were not part of negotiations. Language arts teachers have been expressing their reservations about cost cutting measures to not hire replacements after three middle school language arts teachers retired.

The collective bargaining agreement outlines salaries over the next four years. There is a wide range of salary guides, based on experience, education level and other factors. For 2016-2017, the salaries range from the least experienced teachers with bachelor’s degrees at $48,722 to the most experienced teachers with master’s degrees at $85,318.

The salaries increase incrementally over the next three years, with the lowest salary at $50,364 and the highest at $86,717 in 2017-18. Then in 2018-19, the lowest salary is $52,062 and the highest salary is $88,163. By the 2019-20 school year, the lowest salary is $53,875 and the highest salary is $89,707.

The complete collective bargaining agreement for July 2016 through June 2020 is highly detailed, totaling 71 pages. The entire document is available online at warwicksd.org under school board information.

In personnel matters, several new teachers were appointed to positions for teachers who had retired or resigned.

Heidi Son was approved as a speech and language pathologist at Kissel Hill Elementary School, replacing Wendy Cramer who resigned. Alison Horning was named as a fifth grade teacher at John Beck Elementary School, replacing Gerald Thomas who retired.

Ashley Borg was named as a kindergarten teacher at John R. Bonfield Elementary School, to fill a position needed because of increased enrollment at this grade level.

Brooke Rhoads was approved as a fifth grade teacher at John R. Bonfield Elementary School, replacing Abbe Barbato who retired. Katherine Eberly was named as a sixth grade teacher at Kissel Hill Elementary School, replacing Jean Johns who retired.

School district restructuring accounted for several changes of status for administrative and non-instructional positions. Melanie Calendar’s status was changed from assistant to the superintendent for elementary education and student services at Warwick School District to assistant superintendent at Warwick School District. Robin Felty also serves as assistant superintendent.

Elizabeth Hartranft was transferred from elementary technology coordinator at Warwick School District to assistant director of technology at the Warwick School District. Jill Kramer was transferred from assistant to the business manager at Warwick School District to child accounting coordinator. Debra Ulicny was transferred from secondary education consultant to coordinator of secondary student services at Warwick School District.

Abigael Weit gave her last report as student representative to the school board, after two years in the position. Weit graduated from Warwick High School on June 13, was a commencement speaker, and is headed to Virginia Tech in the fall.

Two board members, Michael Landis and Millard Eppig, expressed concerns about the safety of students traveling to Peru for a cultural immersion and community service project. The rest of the board approved the request for the June-July 2017 program for high school students, noting that student safety is always a priority, here and in another country.

Laura Knowles is a freelance reporter who covers the Warwick School Board beat for the Record Express. She can be reached at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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