NAdams teachers get pay increase

    North Adams teachers are no longer a possible number one -- and that's a good thing.
    The number one status refers to being among the lowest paid teachers in the state of Indiana and a new memorandum of understanding agreed to Tuesday night by both the North Adams Teachers Association (NATA) and the North Adams Community School Board will rectify that situation.
    The agreement, which will be considered a part of the current two-year contract teachers have, calls for a first-year incoming teacher for the 2012-13 school year to be paid a base compensation of $32,000.  Also, any other current teaching staff member earning less than $32,000 will have their salary hiked to that figure.
    "We appreciate the willingness of the teacher's association to work with the board in coming to this understanding," noted NA superintendent Dr. Wylie Sirk.
    Sirk said that while the new agreement does not make North Adams teachers the best paid in the state, "they will be in about the middle, at least in this area of the state and that's significantly better than where they have been. We have a very strong staff that is dedicated to providing quality education for our students."
    NATA President Becky Durnbaugh was present for the board meeting and signed the agreement on behalf of NATA after her group had earlier agreed to the proposal. She did not make any public statements during the meeting.
    North Adams is currently in the second year of the two-year pact. The new memorandum notes that there is no salary ceiling for a teacher's base salary and that a commitment of at least $125,000 for the 2013-14 school year will be applied in accordance with the compensation system adopted in July of this year.
    That compensation program will be based upon areas such as teacher evaluation, experience, education, and exemplary teacher attendance.
    Sirk further added that extracurricular wages for 2012-13 have been established as a dollar amount based on the current index and $29,000 for positions based upon an index rate. For positions based on an established dollar amount, pay will stay the same amount as was paid in the 2011-2012 school year.
    Performance grant stipends will be paid as established by the terms of the grant with anticipated payments coming in June of 2013.
    Lastly, Sirk said any retiree that qualifies for a stipend payment under the compensation system for the 2012-2013 school year shall retain that eligibility.