On behalf of the members of the Jackson County School Board, Superintendent of School Steve R. Benton, Sr. is pleased to announce the district’s instructional employees have ratified the 2020-2021 contract negotiations with 99% of teachers who voted being in favor of the proposal. The District and Jackson County Education Association have agreed to a new salary schedule that brings the minimum teacher salary to $40,741, with minimum increases of $1,500 for the District’s veteran teachers. The District also will absorb 2/3rds of the cost of the health insurance premiums that begins in January 2021. Employees will pay the remaining 1/3 insurance premium increase. Superintendent Benton wishes to express his appreciation to the Board for their support of the agreement. He states, “This has been an extremely trying time for teachers and they are working in extraordinary circumstances during the pandemic. While the state Teacher Salary Allocation provided significant funding to bring the minimum salary to $40,741, additional money was needed to provide any raise of significance for our veteran teachers. They certainly deserve it and I am pleased that the Board supported it. The 99% ratification vote shows that our teachers really appreciate it also.” Following the successful ratification, JCEA President and Grand Ridge teacher Dave Galloway said, “Our new agreement to provide solid increases to our hardworking teachers is clear evidence of the Board’s commitment to Jackson County’s teachers and students. With this new contract, we have made positive strides to recruit and retain teachers who will continue to work hard each and every day to ensure that our students receive the best education possible. On behalf of the JCEA Leadership Team and members, I thank the School Board members, Superintendent Benton, and Deputy Superintendent McDaniel who have continued to work with our teachers throughout an extraordinarily challenging year. This agreement once again demonstrates that only through our collaborative efforts we can continue to do our absolute best for the students and teachers of Jackson County.” The final approval by the school board will be considered at the upcoming meeting Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Negotiations with the non-instructional union representatives will be forthcoming.