The Lawrence school board Monday agreed to add 4.7 percent to the compensation package for all district employees.
Most of that money 4.1 percent will go into salaries, while the rest will be earmarked for benefits. Last year, district employees had an average 3.3 percent increase in salary and benefits.
"This is the best we could do in a very difficult budget year," Supt. Randy Weseman said. "I wish it was more."
Classified staff, including janitors and cooks, will get a 4.1 percent across-the-board raise. The district's administrators and its certified cadre of teachers, counselors and librarians will have 4.1 percent added to their salary funds.
For teachers, that means the district's starting salary will climb to $26,157 from $24,029.
Meanwhile, board members announced they would begin negotiations to extend the contract of their first-year superintendent. Weseman's $118,000 contract with the district expires after the next school year.
"We are extremely pleased by his performance," said Sue Morgan, who becomes board president in July.
Board member Scott Morgan said Weseman had a remarkable rookie year as superintendent.
"He has the confidence and trust of the teachers, the community and the board," Scott Morgan said. "I see only better things happening by his continuing to stay here."
The board's unanimous approval of the 2001-02 certified staff contract followed overwhelming endorsement of the pact by Lawrence Education Assn., which represents the district's 900 certified employees.
Weseman said the entire wage and benefits package would cost the district $2.2 million next year.
The breakdown: certified staff salary, $1.3 million; classified staff salary, $430,000; administration staff salary, $159,900; benefits, $370,000.
Weseman said the district also planned to increase spending in three areas: utilities, $200,000; textbooks, $200,000; and transportation, $100,000.