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WATERLOO — Teachers will be required to be at school a half hour longer each day starting next fall, some of which will be for extended class time.

Waterloo Community Schools plans to increase its “compensation day” from 7-1/2 to eight hours. In addition, officials are “looking at adding 10 minutes onto the student day,” said Superintendent Jane Lindaman. Currently, the student day is just under seven hours, including the lunch break.

“The required day is not necessarily how many hours teachers would work,” she noted. It is typical for teachers to work outside of the school day to prepare for classes.

She discussed the planned changes with the Board of Education earlier this week as members approved the 2018-19 Waterloo Education Association contract. Base wages for the district’s nearly 900 teachers, counselors and family support workers will grow by 4.98 percent under the contract, which will go into effect July 1.

“We are very aware that is higher than a typical settlement would be,” said Lindaman, noting the lengthened work day accounts for the additional compensation. Along with making class periods a little longer, she said it will allow for additional staff professional development time.

Currently, the district’s contract with the WEA starts a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no prior experience at $36,714 per year. At the top of the salary schedule, a teacher with 18 years of experience and 45 credits beyond a master’s degree earns $74,447. Those whose experience puts them beyond the salary schedule also earn additional longevity pay of $200 to $1,400 annually.

“The hours part of it was a recommendation that came out of the handbook committee,” said Lindaman.

Following changes by the Legislature last year, district administrators removed much contract language and put it into an employee handbook. As a result, committees or focus groups that include staff and administrators now meet outside of the negotiations process to make recommendations on a variety of topics.

“I really appreciate over 120 people worked on focus groups,” said board member Sue Flynn. “Previously, with just a union contract you did not have the opportunity to do that.”

“I think it was a really good process,” added Lindaman. “My hunch is we will have more involved next time.”

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Waterloo Schools / HCC Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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