Hammond teachers settle contract

2013-10-30T19:50:00Z 2013-10-30T21:43:18Z Hammond teachers settle contractCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | The School City of Hammond is the most recent region district to settle its teacher contract, giving "effective teachers" a 3.5 percent salary increase.

Of the district's 925 teachers, all but 14 will receive the pay increase, according to the district.

Hammond teachers union President Patrick O'Rourke, who was re-elected in April, said the contract also reflects a 39.4 percent increase in insurance rates, prompting higher insurance premiums.

The Hammond Federation of Teachers ratified the agreement by a vote of 632 to 11, and the School Board approved the contract earlier this month.

In 2011, collective bargaining laws were revised calling for teachers to bargain salary and benefits only and prescribing a mandatory mediation process if teachers and school districts fail to reach agreements.

Under the new rules, Hammond Superintendent Walter Watkins said only teachers and administrators deemed "effective" or "highly effective" can receive a raise.

"Those teachers who are deemed ineffective or need improvement do not qualify for the increase," Watkins said.

The district developed its own evaluation/compensation model, avoiding the Indiana Department of Education's RISE evaluation form. The model considers certain criteria including quality of classroom instruction, discipline and engaging students.

On Monday, the Hammond School Board also officially appointed Kenneth "Greg" Easton principal at Morton Senior High School. Easton, who has been interim principal at Morton, was previously director of the high school's Performing Arts Center. He earned his administrative license and has now been named the permanent principal.

Easton replaced former Morton Principal Doug Friend, who was moved to Scott Middle School as the assistant principal.

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