Gary Community School Corporation’s status as a competitive employer in the NWI validated

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The Gary Community School Corporation (GCSC) recently announced a new agreement with its paraprofessionals, the latest step in a multi-year effort to increase educator salaries and position the district as a competitive employer that can recruit and retain the best staff. North West School. Indiana.

The agreement was between the GCSC and the Gary Teachers Union, which represents paraprofessionals. According to a contract signed in 2005, new paraprofessionals were paid as little as $ 8 an hour for their work in helping teachers serving students. Under the new memorandum of understanding, salaries for new paraprofessionals will almost double to $ 15 an hour.

“Paraprofessionals play a vital role in supporting student learning, and they were late for a pay rise,” said Dr. Paige McNulty, Manager of the GCSC. “This increase, coupled with the one-time allowance during the pandemic and the salary increase for the extended school day, dramatically increases GCSC’s ability to recruit and retain the best educators, as our students deserve.”

Paraprofessionals are essential for GCSC to comply with the requirements of educational and related services for students with disabilities. However, due to the low starting rates of pay, it has been very difficult to find qualified and interested paraprofessionals. As of July, there were 18 paraprofessional positions open for special education, and the GCSC believes that this higher rate of pay will make these positions much more attractive to potential applicants.

Approximately 70 people will receive this salary increase, and the total cost increase associated with this change is approximately $ 205,000 per year. Since those affected are currently funded by the federal government in Title I or this excess cost can be budgeted in federal IDEA dollars, there will be no impact on the local budget. As a condition of the salary increase, the Gary Teachers Union has accepted all changes requested by the GCSC regarding changes in working conditions that need to be made to facilitate improved student achievement.

The salary increase for paraprofessionals comes after the announcement in June that salaries for GCSC teachers will increase to $ 10,000 thanks to an extended school day that will take effect for the 2021-2022 school year. GCSC teachers and paraprofessionals also received a one-time stipend in May in recognition of the challenges they worked to overcome during the pandemic.

The new deal for paraprofessionals was announced at Tuesday’s troubled unit appeal board meeting. At the meeting, Dr McNulty also shared the latest progress report from The Path Forward, the district’s two-year plan to improve academics, engagement, fiscal matters and operations. Among the achievements noted was the increase in summer school attendance from 820 in 2019-2020 to 1,302 for 2020-21. This 58% increase means more students had the opportunity to accelerate their learning and bounce back after schools were largely remote for the 2020-21 school year.

“Our students faced challenges before the pandemic, and COVID-19 has only made matters worse, but our students and families are resilient, and we are committed to providing every opportunity to help our students catch up. lagging behind and excelling, ”McNulty said. “With the expanded summer school program and the upcoming extended school day, we provide multiple opportunities for our students to accelerate their learning. ”

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