A new contract between the Kokomo Teachers Association and the Kokomo-Center School Board includes a number of concessions teachers say are not subject to renegotiation, even if the state’s financial health improves before the contract ends. The contract runs through 2015 and flat-lines teacher pay over the next four years.
Kokomo Teachers Association president Cheryl Simmons said teachers requested that the contract open early, so that it could be settled before any collective bargaining bills before the Indiana legislature become law.
“We negotiated to keep our contract language, and that was the focus mostly of our negotiations this time. There is no additional funds, so therefore we took a zero percent on the pay increase and we did not do increments, which means you go up a year, we stayed at our same salary which we’ve been at for the last two years,” Simmons said.
Kokomo-Center School Board spokesman David Barnes said because of the union concessions, 10-12 teaching jobs will been saved, and staff members will receive a one-time bonus equal to one percent of their yearly pay. Simmons said that no matter what the legislature decides, there will be no renegotiations for the contract.
“Because even if things change and let’s say our legislature becomes friendly to public education and supports public education again, it’s going to take a while for us to realize the financial benefits of that,” she said. “They just won’t say, ‘we’re going to do this for schools’ and then the money’s there. It’s a process.”
More than 96% of teachers voted in favor of the new deal.