Bethel board approves teachers contract

By Cecilia Fox -

BETHEL TWP. — The Bethel board of education voted Monday night to approve a contract with the Bethel Education Association that reinstates step increases for veteran teachers.

The teachers have worked for six months without a contract. The new contract is effective through July 2021.

“We’re restoring the six steps that had been lost by the veteran teachers,” board president Jacob King said. “I think we were able to come to that agreement with some great collaboration and teamwork with our BEA partners.”

According to district treasurer Tammy Emrick, reinstates three step increases for teachers who have been with the district since 2011 beginning next school year.

“They will receive what we call three ‘retro-steps,’ because in the past six years, steps were frozen. Teachers did not receive their increment that they normally would,” she said.

Over the following two years, eligible teachers who were working in the district all six years of the freeze will receive the remaining three step increases.

“I would like to thank the board of education for coming together with the contract negotiations team,” BEA president Traci Brewer said. She also thanked the Bethel community for their support.

The board also discussed a concealed carry policy approved by the previous board. Two staff members have been trained in an emergency response program, which was described as “stringent” and “exclusive” by board members Todd Wright and King. According to Superintendent Ginny Potter, six staff members will be trained by the end of the year.

She asked the board to consider allowing some staff members to carry weapons during the school day and not keep them locked in a biometric safe. King clarified that those staff members would not be teachers in classrooms.

The two-part program will also include medical training for staff members.

By Cecilia Fox