Negotiators for Lawrence teachers and the school board agreed late Tuesday night to a 3.6 percent pay increase for educators next year.
About half of that amount represents what teachers receive for meeting additional college hour or longevity requirements.
For the first time, negotiators this year used collaborative bargaining rather than confrontational bargaining. Both sides agree it paid off.
"The board wanted to make it a point that they are unanimously pleased and congratulate the teachers for their extremely professional demeanor in response to interest-based bargaining," said Marcia Bone, director of human resources.
Valerie Johnson-Powell, president of the Lawrence Education Assn., said she's thrilled with the pay increase, which comes when the district is facing a tough budget year. And she praised the new negotiating process.
"I feel like it worked better than we could have expected," she said.
Supt. Al Azinger said that he would have liked for teachers to receive a higher pay increase but that the budget situation made that difficult.
"Our teachers certainly aren't overpaid," he said.
On Thursday and Friday, teachers will ratify the master agreement.
Last week, the LEA asked for a 3.8 percent pay increase, while the school board offered a 2.8 salary increase for 1996-97 contracts.