Teachers in Western Wayne School Corporation will get a $2,000 raise in their base pay under tentative terms of a contract discussed by the school board on Oct. 11.

Base pay for teachers would range from $42,000 to $65,000 under contract terms negotiated with the Western Wayne Education Association. Teachers who are rated “effective” or “highly effective” in annual evaluations would also receive incremental raises. Each increment is $2,000 higher than in the current contract, Andy Stover, superintendent, said.

The new contract also includes revision in extracurriculars, setting pay levels for some positions that weren’t included in the previous contract and deleting some discontinued positions.

The board plans to ratify the contract at its Nov. 8 meeting. Board President Alan Austin said only he and Brent Fortman, who served with Stover as negotiators, can vote on the contract. The other three members, Phil Pflum, Sarah Pennington and David Sturgis, all have family members affected by it.

School building principals shared results from the i-READY diagnostic tests that students took this fall. Chad Lieberman, director of titles and grants, said the tests give teachers information about each student’s current educational progress. Results cannot be compared between school districts because not all use the test, he said.

Lincoln Middle/High School Principal Renée Lakes said nearly half of seventh and eighth graders — 49.5% — are more than a year behind in math and 36.9% are at least two years behind in English/language arts. Students have been grouped according to ability and are getting daily attention in those areas, she said.

Western Wayne Elementary Principal Elizabeth Miller said results at that school are a little lower than a year ago. There, 11% of the students tested were three levels behind in English/language arts. In math, 12.96% were three grade levels behind. Personalized and small group instruction by specialists are among tools being used to help students improve to grade level.

Stover said that the principals and staff have “taken a deep dive” into the scores. He said the teaching staff is “excited about what we’re trying to do. We love them (students) so much that we know if we push them with high rigor, we know we will be doing the best for them and their future.”

During a public comment portion of the meeting, Jim Antle, a Cambridge City resident who has attended almost every board meeting since late 2016, spoke of his observations.

“You have a thankless job as school board members,” he said, commending their work. He suggested ways to improve public communication.

He said Pflum had commented two years ago — in November 2021 — that the board should discuss the LMHS football program, and said now is time for that discussion. The team has canceled some games this fall. Later in the meeting, Pflum renewed his call for discussion. 

The board’s next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in room 80 at LMHS, 205 E. Parkway Drive, Cambridge City. The public may attend.

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A version of this article appeared in the October 18 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.