Members of the South Newton Classroom Teachers Association (SNCTA) met with a team to negotiate salaries for 2021-2022 and beyond prior to the regularly scheduled monthly school board meeting.

Blair DiRuzza presented the proposal as the SNCTA representative. The official vote on this took place at a separate meeting later in the week.

The board-approved agreement gives all educators a significant salary boost to match the state directive of increasing beginning teacher pay. South Newton adopted a salary scale within the last few years; the new pay rates will figure into this already established formula for all teachers.

Superintendent Hall explained that the state is allocating more money per student than in previous years which makes these raises possible. He wanted to assure community members that their property taxes are not paying for the proposed salary increases.

“We fought for more money, now we have to keep up with it,” said Amanda Berenda, school board president. “It’s a numbers game.”

Mr. Hall expressed his gratitude for all of his staff. He especially mentioned the difficulties for Anje Bevis, director of food service, in trying to get food deliveries with the shortages. Bevis has been making weekly trips to obtain food supplies for the schools due to the national challenges in transporting supplies.

For all schools,the staff expressed their appreciation for the ability to get back to the traditions and routines that were absent last year. In the elementary, there will be a first and second grade program on October 14th, at 6:30 pm. The fifth grade went to Camp Tecumseh last week and were very excited for that opportunity.

The elementary school is also partnering with Purdue’s Sherri Cripe, formerly Morocco Elementary School’s principal, for a Bullying Prevention initiative that will take place on October 22.

The middle and high school hosted a body safety program for students and parents on September 21 and 22. Routines in the secondary buildings are primarily focused on academics and school spirit.

Middle school principal Tansey Mulligan spoke about teacher training to improve classroom practices, and high school principal Ryan Smith shared student recognitions and activities to improve morale and promote unity. Smith also sacrificed his beard as part of an agreement with the football team to celebrate their season.

At the last board meeting, member Candace Armstrong shared her concerns about the traffic congestion during drop off and pick up times. Captain Shannon Cothran of Newton County Sheriff’s Department has since been instrumental in rethinking these procedures to help ensure safety and efficiency. South Newton appreciates all of the support from the community and its members.

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