Paying it forward

Perry Township gives back to teachers with a $4,000 raise

For a long time, Perry Township has been doing everything they can to give back to the work that the staff has been doing, according to Kent Hatcher, the Chief Financial Officer of Perry Township.

On Oct. 24, the Perry Township school board approved giving teachers a raise in their salary. The additional state funding that was received helped the board decide to give their employees as much as they deserved.

A lot of the money that goes into paying the township’s bus drivers, the cafeteria staff, fuel for the buses, teacher benefits and more comes from the income the schools receive like sales taxes, property taxes and federal grants that supply money for payments.

The Education Foundation raises money and does extra things for the township, but they don’t do any fundraising that the state supplied.

The school board is in charge of all the financial decisions made. The board approves all the payments made and the budgets. There are certain rules in what and how they can spend certain funds, however.

“Federal tax money can only be spent on certain things, property tax money can only be spent on certain things and federal grant money can only be spent on certain things,” Hatcher said.

The process begins with management looking for opportunities for such things like contracts. Then, all purchases would go through a board meeting every month. The board approves the budget, the contracts, the raises and more.

“(The) superintendent will take recommendations to them on what those raises should be,” Hatcher said. “But ultimately, the board makes the final decision.”

The collective bargain agreement helped decide how the teacher salary would be divided.

English teacher and first vice president of the Teacher’s Union, Jordan Dever, says that the Teacher’s Union gathers information from their members and looks to other townships and schools to see what they have done for their teachers to decide on proposals for the administration to consider. One of these decisions includes salaries.

The starting salary for teachers is $48,000. This makes Perry Township among the school districts with the highest starting teacher salaries.

According to Dever, one of the reasons why the raise felt necessary was because teachers were leaving at a rapid rate for other districts.

There are people who aren’t fortunate enough to get a raise once a year like we are, so I am grateful for anything.

— Math teacher Jack Williams

“The school district has to be competitive to keep people here,” Dever said.

With the increase of salaries, teacher will receive a range from $48,000 to $92,881 depending on their experience.

Perry Township Schools Superintendent Pat Mapes says on the township’s website that by offering higher salaries and great benefits, they hope to fix the staff shortage problems that have been circulating.

In terms of current teachers, math teacher Jack Williams felt a great wave of gratitude from the raise.

“There are people who aren’t fortunate enough to get a raise once a year like we are,” Williams said. “So I am grateful for anything.”