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Fort Zumwalt Teachers and Staff to Get Raises

The Board of Education approved the raises at the July meeting.

Thanks to a , teachers and staff in the Fort Zumwalt School District will be getting raises. 

With a 7-0 vote during the July meeting, the Board of Education lifted a salary freeze. Teachers and support staff will get an average raise of 2.6 percent. Certified administrators will receive a 1.5 percent raise.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Orr said the increase in pay increase will total about $2.5 million. According to to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Orr said the money is offset because the district is saving that much in salaries from more than 100 retirements this year. A special incentive this year offered teachers nine years of health benefits. In the next year, the health benefits drops to six years. 

Fort Zumwalt has about 1,400 certified teachers and administrators. 

Concussion Program Proving Worth

During the July meeting the board was given a concussion presentation by Dr. Brandon D. Larkin, a sports medicine physician at St. Peters Bone and Joint Surgery. The district is going into its third year of a.  

The program requires athletes to take a test involving puzzles, memory and concentration before seeing game action. The results of the test serve as a baseline for doctors to use to measure the impact of a brain injury. If an athlete thinks he or she has a concussion, they will undergo the same test and compare the new score to the baseline test. 

In order for the athletes to get back on the field, the athlete must no longer have any symptoms and "pass" the baseline test. 

The concussion program has been expanded at the high school level to include boys and girls soccer and cheerleading, as well as football. 

Larkin said the longest an athlete sat out this year was 248 days, but that was out of the norm. He said most are out about a month. 

Baseline tests are administered during a student's freshman and junior years—for most students. Students sustaining concussions are often retested to establish a new baseline.

During the last 2011-12 year, 860 baseline tests of athletes, with 118 recorded concussions among football and soccer players and cheerleaders, aaccording to the Suburban Journals. There were 30 concussions in non-baseline sports, 13 of those among wrestlers and nine among basketball players.

According to the Suburban Journals, Larkin said that 47 concussions were suffered by football players. Twenty-four were among soccer players, and 17 cheerleaders had concussions. By school,  students had 38, followed by  with 32, West with 31 and North High with 17.

Larkin said with the increasing public conversation about the dangers of concussions, it's been easier to get cooperation from coaches and players. 

Fort Zumwalt was one of the first schools in the area to start the baseline test. During the July 16 meeting, Larkin said more and more schools are moving toward the test. 

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