By CHRIS EVERSOLE
The Mustang Board of Education and the Mustang Education Association, the bargaining unit representing teachers, have agreed on a new contract for the new school year.
Last week, MEA members voted in the favor of the new contract by 73% to 27%. The school board then approved it.
The contract gives teachers who worked in another state full credit for that experience.
Before, the amount of out-of-state time for which Mustang teachers could receive credit was capped at five years.
Now that teachers can receive credit, some of them will see total pay increases since the teacher walkout of April 2018 totaling $10,000, said MEA President Mark Webb.
Over that time, starting salaries for new teachers rose $8,710 – going to $41,220 from $32,510.
That’s based on raises the Legislature approved after the walkout that averaged $5,000 and two raises in this spring — $2,488 the district added on its own and $1,220 the legislature approved.
“I’m very happy,” Webb said. “Now, students graduating from college can stay in Oklahoma rather than going to another state, and they can make a living.”
In addition to approving the contract at its Aug. 14 meeting, the board heard from Chief Financial Officer Nancy McKay that the school district’s assessed valuation, which is used to calculate its property tax revenue, has risen 12 percent over the past year.
That amount, which is higher than McKay had expected, will help Mustang Schools keep up with growing enrollment and the opening of the new Central Middle School, McKay said.
The board also accepted a $148,258 grant based on the Victims of Crime Act to create a student advocacy program.
The grant allows the district to hire two counselors and to contract for other counseling services to help students who have been abused or victimized, said Kitrena Hime, the district’s director of student assistance programs.
“We’re excited to have the money,” she said. “Now, the work starts.”
Hime also reviewed the districtwide use of training in the “7 Mindsets.”
The program’s principles include:
Everything is possible
We are connected
Live to give
The time is now
Attitude of gratitude
“Throughout the district, we’re teaching student about having good social-emotional health so they can make good choices,” Hime said.