Archive for Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Board OKs district pay raise, Weseman contract renewal

June 17, 2003

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The Lawrence school board unanimously agreed Monday to renew the three-year contract of Supt. Randy Weseman.

Board members also approved an average 3.5 percent increase in salary and benefits for all employees.

"Given the real world we live in, I think this is significant," said Scott Morgan, board president.

Weseman, who is in his third year as Lawrence's superintendent, will work after July 1 under a contract with a $130,320 annual salary, four weeks of paid vacation and the standard health insurance package.

He also receives a five-day sabbatical for professional development along with contributions to a retirement fund and a stipend for use of his vehicle.

"I appreciate the opportunity to work in the district," Weseman said.

The board's approval of the 3.5 percent increase in compensation for teaching staff in the district hinges on ratification of the contract by members of Lawrence Education Assn., which represents the 900 certified employees in labor talks.

The pact is expected to receive overwhelming approval by LEA members in mail-in balloting this month.

In keeping with tradition in the district, the 750 classified employees -- janitors, food service, maintenance staff -- will receive the same boost in compensation as teachers.




While the district was able to maintain its policy of providing teachers an individual health insurance policy, renewal rates for the district increased 19 percent for 2003-2004. To help offset the higher premiums, employees with family plans will pick up more of the cost of their medical insurance.

"We're having to do what employers all over the country are having to do, which is to shift some of the cost of health and related insurance from employer to employee," said Austin Turney, the board's vice president.

The district dropped a life insurance benefit for teachers in exchange for enhancing their vision insurance.

Meanwhile, the board worked on a list of at least $1.7 million in budget cuts necessary to pay for these improvements in wages and benefits, including $700,000 for the district's share of climbing health insurance costs.

"That's part of the unpleasant balancing act that this board goes through," Morgan said.

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