Starting pay set at $30,000
RUMFORD – SAD 43 directors on Monday unanimously ratified a new three-year contract for the district’s 160 teachers and other professional staff. It includes an increase in the beginning pay for teachers and a change in the number of steps needed to hit the top of the pay scale.
Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said the contract, which begins Sept. 1, and ends on June 30, 2010, complies with a state mandate that calls for paying new teachers $30,000 a year. The district paid $27,000 for a beginning teacher during the previous school year.
Because of the higher rate for beginning teachers, the pay scale for others was increased as well. Hodgkin said the average increase during the first year of the contract is expected to be about $2,000. The contract calls for a 4.82 percent hike the first year, 2.82 percent the second, and 2.38 percent the third.
Hodgkin said the pay scale was also reduced from 25 steps to 19, which will allow veteran teachers to increase their lifelong earnings. That provides a higher retirement benefit. Those who top out will receive smaller pay increases.
Although the percentage teachers must pay for health insurance premiums remains the same at 20 percent, their premiums will likely rise about 15 percent because of the higher cost for health coverage.
Other contract components include a revised method of paid leave. Teachers will continue to receive 18 days a year, but it will not be broken down to sick time and personal time.
“This will allow for greater flexibility for the staff, to honor their professionalism,” Hodgkin said.
Hodgkin said about 80 percent of the total district budget is applied to staff salaries. With the contract, he expects a 2.5 to 3 percent increase from this year’s budget.
“The process was very positive. The new contract will be able to attract the most qualified staff,” he said.