Lawrence school board representatives refused Tuesday to negotiate eight money items in its master agreement with teachers, saying that any extra money for teachers allowed by state aid should be used solely for salaries and fringe benefits.
During negotiations with the Lawrence Education Assn., Lawrence School Supt. Dan Neuenswander said the "precious little" increased funding expected from the state next year had moved the board to make salary and health insurance top priorities. Eight other money requests made by the LEA are less important, Neuenswander said.
One such proposal by the LEA is to increase compensation for extra duty by $1 per clock hour. The LEA also has requested increased compensation for the medical exams that new employees are required to take.
LEA spokesman Doran Chaput agreed to drop negotiations on the money items at least for the time being.
NEUENSWANDER said the 1 percent increase in budget authority that the Kansas Legislature has allowed the district for next year will equal about $290,000. Administrators also estimate that enrollment next year will increase by about 160 students, which would bring the district an additional $584,000 in per-pupil funding.
In other discussion Tuesday, the negotiators agreed to create a committee to look at possible changes in the school calendar. The two teams specifically would like to develop a schedule that would not use Memorial Day as a makeup for "weather days." Classes would have been held on Memorial Day this year had the negotiating teams not agreed last month to extend this year's calendar by one day.
NEUENSWANDER proposed making this year's master agreement binding for two years and holding no negotiations whatsoever next year, not even in the areas of salary and fringe benefits.
Chaput wondered whether that would be a sound move considering the financial troubles that the state had this year and that are expected to continue next year.
Neuenswander said that several school districts have tied their teacher salaries to state funding and that Lawrence could do the same. Under such an arrangement, a drop in budget authority wouldn't result in lower salaries but in a reduction of staff, he said.