Salary increases are in store for Joplin school district teachers and staff

Salary increases are in store for Joplin school district teachers and staff
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The Joplin school board has approved a new salary schedule for teachers. It’s not be as big an increase as union officials initially sought. But many say it’s welcome news.

Summer school is in session at the Joplin school district. And for teachers it’s a job many apply to do. Principal Julie Munn said, “I think they just need the extra money. Want the extra money. And they love the kids.”

Next year teachers can expect extra dollars in their regular paychecks.
Special education teacher Wendy Henady exclaimed, “I’m excited. I like money and I like a raise.”

Paraprofessional David White said, “I think it’s great. I think it’s needed and greatly appreciated!”

All teachers and staff are getting a one point eight percent salary increase. But extra dollars are being added to those with more years on the job. Designed to keep the district competitive.
Henady said, “Teachers will stay if they feel appreciated by what they’re making. They’re gonna stay and then they’ll work on other things, a more positive environment, but money’s important to us.”

The Joplin NEA represents teachers and went in asking for more but union reps say they had to face the grim reality of public education funding. Wendy Henady was a listener to the bargaining process.
She said of district officials, “They counteract with what they had. Bottom line, it’s money. It’s what dollars are gonna come into the district.

Dr. Norm Ridder, an interim superintendent said, “You need that transparency. The teachers that were at the table had a total picture of the total budget and there was no way they didn’t know where every dollar was being spent.”

All say the raises when combined with changes in the district are boosting morale for teachers. Ridder explained, “They’re the ones making the decisions. They’re the ones writing curriculum. They’re the ones basically engaging the students.”

Kelsey Norman and summer school principal Julie Munn added, “That teachers have more a voice. And that empowerment piece we’re talking about, that has been a huge morale changer. The teachers are excited to be there and the pay helps. The increase the pay.”

It will cost the district more than seven hundred fifty thousand dollars more for salaries paid for with local tax revenues, and state funding along with a slight uptick in enrollment.

The one point eight percent salary increase applies to staff members such as custodians and bus drivers who are represented as the Joplin Education Support Professionals (JESP). They negotiated their first contract with the district and were hoping for a higher percentage but say its a start.