PRINCETON — North Gibson school trustees committed about $250,000 in new spending for teacher and support staff pay increases Thursday night.

The school board adopted a tentative agreement with the North Gibson Education Association that provides 2 percent pay increases on the salary base of certified teaching staff, plus a one-time 1 percent stipend for teachers who are rated by the state-mandated model as highly effective or effective.

Superintendent Brian Harmon said the state will also award teacher appreciation grants of approximately 1 percent to teachers rated effective or highly effective. Teachers with the highest rating get 25 percent more of the state grant stipend than teachers who are rated effective, he explained.

The new contract, which is retroactive to the beginning of the school year, also includes provisions for a licensed career specialist on staff, and creates stipends for a sixth grade girls volleyball coach, two middle school LEGO robotics team sponsors and stipends for teachers who are certified for dual credit courses (curriculum that counts as college credit).

School board members also approved 2 percent increases to the hourly or salary base of all non-certified staff, plus a 2 percent one-time stipend for those employees. Harmon said that the non-certified staff does not get the grant awards made by the state, and noted that the teachers union supported the higher stipend for non-certified staff.

The board approved a 2 percent increase to the base salary of administrative staff, and a 1 percent one-time stipend. Administrative staff will not receive the state grant, Harmon confirmed.

The superintendent reported there's no increase in health insurance cost to employees this year.

Pay increases are retroactive to the beginning of the school year for non-certified staff as well.

Harmon said North Gibson's annual payroll for all staff, including benefits, is $13.5 million.

Thursday's special meeting was called to approve the teachers union contract prior to the state-mandated Nov. 15 deadline.

At the conclusion of the special session, school board president Mark Iunghuhn said the board will likely have paperwork to approve regarding the disposition of the former Franklin School property. The school building, which has been leased by Gibson County for decades, has been closed for several years and is on the market for sale, as well as the former middle school property on State Street.

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