Whitko Receives Largest Ladder Grant in the State

The following was released on Thursday, Feb. 06, 2020

(Source: INDOE - https://www.doe.in.gov/effectiveness/hea-1008-career-ladders-grant-appli...)

What does this mean for Whitko? Dr. Brandon Penrod expanded upon this exciting news saying, “Typically we have to pull funds from the Education Fund in order to increase teacher salaries. Once that money is allotted, there is no more. But with the addition of the Career Ladders Grant funding, we will be able to open new doors for leadership opportunities for our teachers to advance their careers. In addition, all of our teachers will have the opportunity to participate in the highest quality job embedded professional development focused on the needs of Whitko students. We have essentially found a way to increase teacher salaries outside of the Education Fund, which anyone can tell you, is no easy task. I am excited because it means our students will benefit from highly trained teachers who are also able to earn the honor of being among the top paid professionals in their chosen field.”

WCTA (Whitko Classroom Teachers Association) President Kathy Wright agreed with Penrod saying, “This is very exciting news for all of our teachers to hear! As new leadership roles are cultivated, our teachers will receive top training and well deserved compensation for their expertise.” In November, WCTA and the Whitko School Board agreed to the first raise in seven years for teachers, which increased salaries across the board and increased new teacher salaries to be among the most competitive in the area. Along with this strategy to attract top candidates to new teaching roles within the school, the Whitko School Board went on to advance raises inclusive of all staff throughout the district accomplishing a much needed financial victory for all Whitko employees.

“Whitko has financially turned the corner,” explained School Board President Carrie Hoffman. Among Whitko’s recent financial success since October are: teacher pay increases, staff pay increases, and a 6.1% decrease in the tax rate.

In less than one year, nearly $1 million in new grant funding has been accumulated for the school, and it suggests that this is far from being a celebratory end, but rather it is a signal that now is the beginning of a new era of success for Whitko. An era of financial stability, responsibility, assistance, advisement and leadership. This new found drive to secure funding includes the most recent donation earlier in 2019, whereby lead funding partner The 80/20 Foundation Trust and Community Foundation of Whitley County agreed to become partners with Whitko Community Schools to launch WCA (Whitko Career Academy). The WCA partnership lead the way to announcements of new funding and new partnerships. This new funding will provide momentum for the school’s goals to become a reality.

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