School board robotics

Mike Grant | Times Herald

Students from the North Elementary robotics team show school board members some of the things they have to build in competitions.

The Washington Community School Board handed out some raises to most of its staff Thursday night. The board unanimously approved the contract with the Washington Classroom Teachers Association. In addition, they approved increases for much of the administrative staff and the non-certified personnel.

The contract approved was identical to one presented earlier this week during a public hearing that was already approved by the CTA.

“Every teacher eligible for a raise by the status of effective or highly effective will receive a $1,500 base increase along with a one-time $500 stipend,” said Washington School Superintendent Dr. Dan Roach. “Along with that we have incentives to the insurance program so that if they are in the high deductible category, as a single $500 would go into their Health Savings Account or $1,00 if they have a family. We also made a few changes on the extra-curricular schedule.”

The raises are expected to impact almost all of the teachers because most are evaluated to be effective or highly effective on an annual basis.

With the contract set with the CTA the board laid out similar raises to all of the administrators except the superintendent. “We simply took a look at the daily increase per teacher and applied that as a general rule for the administration,” said Roach. “For the non-certified employee raises amount to a one to three percent increase depending upon their positions.”

Superintendent’s contracts and financial adjustments to them, by law, have to be done separately from other increases in salaries.

The raises are going to be put into place retroactively to the first of the school year even though there is still a small concern that they may wind up becoming victim to the ILEARN test scores. Washington, like many other schools in Indiana, saw significant drops in those scores from how students had been performing on the ISTEP.

Both State School Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick and Governor Eric Holcomb have called for the legislature to “hold harmless” schools this time around for the scores and the corresponding impact it has on school and school system grades. The legislature though holds the power to make that decision, and so far they have not met.

“We are going to move forward with this increase in the payroll, but when we take a look at the certified individuals it is supposed to be dependent on the state letter grades or implementing the ‘hold harmless’ request,” said Roach.

In other business the board heard a presentation on a project put together by some teachers as part of their Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at Indiana University. The teachers have put together a program to help students become more acclimated to school before beginning kindergarten. They are calling it the Hatchet Kindergarten Camp. It would run 10 half-days in July to help kids get prepared for taking part in kindergarten.

The board also received presentations on robotics programs on both the elementary and high school level. On the elementary level students from North, Veale and Lena Dunn showed school officials some of the competitions they are working on.

On the high school level the board was presented with the beginnings of a robotics club that has 40 students participating.

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