EVSC approves collective bargaining agreement with teachers

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — During Tuesday’s school board meeting, members from the Evansville Teachers Association patiently waited for the board’s vote on the proposed collective bargaining agreement between the ETA and the school corporation.

The unanimous approval of the agreement came after months of negotiations between the ETA’s six-person bargaining team and the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp.

The two organizations agreed to a $500 increase to EVSC teachers’ base salary for the first and second year of the agreement, including a 1% and 1.5% stipend. 

ETA President Michael Rust, along with two other association members, stood from their seats as they applauded the school board’s approval of the agreement. Rust then took to the podium, thanking the EVSC and school board for the approval and continued support.

The finalization of the agreement, Rust said, was a sign of the two groups’ shared desire to benefit local teachers and obtain additional funding from the state legislature.

“I believe it shows good faith and recognition that we need a change in funding from the state,” he said. “They need to fully fund public education and it’s atrocious what the shortfall is in funding our school corporations in this state.”

However, despite the approval of the budget agreement, Rust said ETA members, as well as other local EVSC staff, still intend to push for additional funding from the state legislature.

ETA will take several buses to attend the Red for Ed Action Day on Nov. 19, which is a rally for teachers and community members statewide to voice their frustrations about funding for public education.

“Our fight is with the state,” Rust said. “We recognize the position the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. is in with funding from the state.”

“I’m very excited, and it pleases us as a board,” EVSC School Board President Karen Ragland said of the agreement. “We know the pains, the in’s and out’s as a professional and what’s involved. I hope through this that statement is made throughout the state. We wanted to support our teachers by giving them the virtual day (to attend the Red for Ed event) so an impact can be made. There’s strength in numbers.”

With the ETA’s efforts, Rust said, he and others intend on pushing for additional benefits for EVSC educators and better resources for students. 

Here are some additional things you may have missed during Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Approved updates to the student suicide awareness and prevention policy

The administration voted to revise the student suicide awareness and prevention program, which will undergo criteria changes in response to SEA 1230 — a policy that addresses staff required training.

The prevention program, or policy 5350, focuses on training local teachers on ways to prevent elementary, middle and high school students from committing suicide or acts of self-harm. 

EVSC staff for grades 5-12 will be required to take part in at least two hours of a research-based youth suicide awareness and prevention training program every three years. 

Administration approved $114,493 grant to help students gain manufacturing skills

The school board approved a $114,493 grant for the development of a program to help students learn the skills needed to pass a manufacturing job assessment.

This program will be made available to seniors in special education throughout the EVSC. These students will have access to training stations, guest speakers and classroom materials to gain manufacturing experience, all while earning high school graduation requirements. 

New courses to be implemented in local high school curriculum 

The administration approved the insertion of six new courses in the district’s high school curriculum, which will include advanced math, Spanish and science courses.

Among the schools in the district, North, Harrison, Reitz and Central High School will offer these courses to students. The Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center will also develop an “aerial systems and drones” course for those interested in learning about unmanned flight technology.

Support staff reach approved agreement

In addition to the approved teachers’ contracts between the EVSC and ETA, the school corporation and the district’s supportive staff — which includes custodians, secretaries, bus aides, bus drivers and special education paraprofessionals — also reached an approved agreement.

The agreement was ratified by a unanimous vote from the school board.

— Courier & Press

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