After the Duneland
School Board’s regular meeting Monday night, the Board reconvened for a
public hearing to gather input on teacher salaries and fringe benefits.
Per State law, both
the local teacher’s association and the local school board are required to
hold such a hearing prior to starting contract negotiations.
Bob DeRuntz, CHS
History teacher and Chair of Negotiations for the Duneland Teacher’s
Association, said the DTA is looking forward to working with the
administration on a new contract. The DTA agreement currently in place
expired June 30, but remains in effect until a new agreement is reached.
DeRuntz said the
Duneland community, by supporting the continuation of the supplemental
property tax referendum in May, has paved the way for Duneland to pay its
teachers competitively. “I think we all are in agreement that in the face of
the overall teacher shortage and the increased demand for teachers, the
solution is to pay Duneland teachers the best salaries in the region,”
One member of the
public spoke in the public hearing. Chesterton resident Jim Jeselnick
reported he researched the highest salary paid to teachers in the Valparaiso
Community Schools, and in the Crown Point Community School district, which
new Duneland Schools Superintendent Chip Pettit was hired from.
Jeselnick said both
are paying more than Duneland at the top range, since each pays their
highest paid teacher more than $78,000 per year while Duneland lags at
$72,235. “I would like to recommend that we achieve the same level as two of
our close schools,” Jeselnick said.
For the record,
Jeselnick is right that both Valpo and Crown Point outpace Duneland in
top-range teacher pay. The Chesterton Tribune checked the current
teacher contracts at Duneland, Valparaiso, and Crown Point.
Per the current DTA
agreement, Duneland’ salary range for teachers is $40,000 to $72,235 per
year, before performance-based raises. Valparaiso teachers are paid between
$40,000 and $78,455, and Crown Point teachers are paid between $43,000 and
$80,153, both before performance-based raises.