Representatives of the Lawrence school district and the Lawrence Education Assn. voted to extend contract negotiations Tuesday after they failed to agree on raises for teachers.
Proposals from both sides could mean an increase in taxes this winter for property owners in the district, but how much will depend on what compromise the two sides reach and on other pieces of the budget puzzle.
The district offered a flat salary increase of $1,045 for all teachers, regardless of experience. Craig Fiegel, division director of business and facilities, said the proposal would increase the personnel budget 3.2 percent, an increase the Lawrence school board is comfortable with.
Teachers did not like the flat-raise idea and asked the district to bring a different proposal to a June 13 meeting, Fiegel said.
"Right now my feeling would be we're not going to get up to where the teachers are right now," he said.
Teachers are seeking a 3.95 percent increase to the base salary, said Kim Henrichs, a teacher association negotiator.
Fiegel said granting the teachers' request would result in a 6.5 percent increase, because the district now uses a salary schedule for its teachers, who earn a base salary plus get raises as they gain experience and training. Any change to the base salary would add to the salary schedule costs.
Teachers are requesting two new levels on the salary schedule, too: one at 25 years and one at 29 years of experience. The proposal would reward veteran teachers, and it has support from both new and veteran teachers, Henrichs said.
In all, he said, the teachers' proposal would increase the Lawrence school budget by 3.19 percent.
By extending the negotiations, the two sides avoided a state-imposed June 1 deadline to reach agreement or declare impasse.
Supt. Al Azinger said negotiations would become increasingly urgent in the next four to six weeks because the board must begin hammering out a budget.