Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2005

Teachers agree to 8.1 percent salary increase

Settlement still needs to be ratified; $29,550 would be beginning pay

October 13, 2005


Lawrence teachers and school officials on Wednesday agreed to a salary package that's expected to boost teacher wages by 8.1 percent.

"We're really happy to reach a settlement," said Lawrence Schools Supt. Randy Weseman. "Personally, I'm really glad we're getting more money to teachers. That's been the goal all along."

Under the settlement, a beginning teacher's salary would increase to $29,550 from the current $26,825.

The settlement has yet to be ratified by the district's roughly 840 teachers.

"We hope to have it ratified in time for the board's Oct. 24 meeting," said Lawrence Education Assn. President Sam Rabiola.

Several board members, he said, have assured teachers the package will pass.

The package does not include an 8.1 percent raise for every teacher. Instead, each teacher's raise will depend on experience and number of graduate credit hours.

"It's an 8.1 percent increase in salary dollars. That's over and above the amount spent on teacher salaries last year," Weseman said. "It's that much more being plugged into the (salary) schedule."

If ratified by the teachers and the board, the raises will show up in teachers' Nov. 18 paychecks.

The raises are retroactive. Teachers will receive lump-sum payments for September and October, though the date for cutting the checks has not been decided.

The 8.1 percent increase is projected to cost the district an additional $2.8 million. Standard payroll deductions - FICA, unemployment, worker's compensation - will push the total to $3 million.

The raises are for the district's certified staff - teachers, nurses, speech pathologists and psychologists. They do not affect secretaries, paraprofessionals and custodians.

Teachers welcomed the settlement, but noted district salaries still lag behind those in several area school districts.

Wellsville, for example, pays its starting teachers $31,000; Olathe, $33,230; Shawnee Mission, $31,777; De Soto, $33,000; Blue Valley, $33,208.

"To the public, 8.1 percent may look like a healthy raise, but we're still behind what's going on in other districts," said Dan Karasek, a member of the teachers' team of negotiators.

"We need several healthy raises in a row," said Karasek, a fifth-grade teacher at Prairie Park School.

The two sides also agreed to begin an overhaul of the district's salary schedule, which dictates pay based on a teacher's pay and expertise.

"It's everybody's understanding that next year there'll be a new schedule," said Kelly Barker, a negotiator for the teachers. "The one we now has been kept on CPR long enough, it's time to pull the plug."


hottruckinmama 12 years, 6 months ago

they will get this raise and then still *itch because they don't make enough money. my sister works in a state hospital. she is in direct care. this means she gets hit kicked spit on you name it. they also work 12 months out of the year. guess how much of a raise they are getting this year? -0- know why? its because so damn much money comes out of the state budget for education.

lunacydetector 12 years, 6 months ago

starting pay is the equivalent monthly salary ($3,283.33) to that of a person making $39,400 a year that works 12 month's out of the year.

i won't be listening as hard next time i hear the teachers complaining.

Shardwurm 12 years, 6 months ago


8.1 freaking percent?!?!?!

The real tragedy is there are some really crappy teachers getting the same raise as the good ones.

This is unreal.

There are thousands of new teachers graduating every year who can't find teaching jobs and instead we reward mediocre performance.

Why do I say mediocre? Did you see the test results from the local schools yesterday? Gee...four schools aren't meeting standards so let's give the teachers EIGHT FREAKING PERCENT to reward them for their 'hard work'.

As a taxpayer I'm appalled. Everyone wants to make money for doing nothing. Nowhere is it more evident that it can be done as a Lawrence teacher.

tell_it_like_it_is 12 years, 6 months ago

When will we finally wise up? When education takes 95% of the state budget? When every dime of your property tax goes to pay for new school buildings that in most cases aren't needed? Education in Kansas is getting to be a monster that needs tamed. I think its about time for the taxpayers to say enough already.

bankboy119 12 years, 6 months ago

Actually in the last two years I've gotten over a 50% increase....but I've also changed positions.

brainfodder 12 years, 6 months ago

Hottruckin'- I'm sorry your sister doesn't make more money, but blaming teaching for that is baseless. She works for a state medical facility in a state that doesn't have socialized medicine. I am glad she does it and it is evidence of her strong character. She should be paid more, regardless of what teachers make. However, teachers do work for a socialized education system in Kansas. The two are very different entitites.

Shard- Read the data again. The schools improved, just not enough to meet an arbitary percentage figured by politicians. Not only did the schools not fail, they did better. You have been suckered by percentage data offered by the government. Congratulations. And as for "doing nothing," please stop by your local school and ask for a copy of the accreditation reports that outline in detail what have been done for the past five years to improve above and beyond what has been done in the classroom.

Macon- We have really good kids in this town. Sure, they can be brats. But they are kids. I hope you get to meet them. And to the rest- Please read the article. This is an overall increase in salary spending of 8.1%. This does not mean that teachers will be making 8.1% more before or after taxes. This is outlined in the reading. And if you want to make the schools better, get involved. Site council committees, parent volunteer organizations, and after school activities all need your support, and they contribute so much to the kids in this town.

Lowell Holmes 12 years, 6 months ago

Do any of you people complaining about the well the teachers are getting even have any kids in school? Do you have any idea how difficult a job teaching is?Lawrence teachers have been on the low end of the pay scale for years and everyone was wondering why we couldnt attract more good teachers, now that they have got a much deserved raise everyone is complaining. Yeah there are some bad teachers out there, but you will find subpar performers in every job in the world so dont penalize the good ones because of a few bad ones. Also if you think the education system here isnt performing as it should do something about it. Volunteer your time or something instead of howling like a pack of coyotes.

hottruckinmama 12 years, 6 months ago

amen macon amen. that is something that has always puzzled me too.

brainfodder 12 years, 6 months ago

So because teachers have been paid poorly in the past they shouldn't fight to be paid better? No one is saying that the teachers are surprised to be paid low, just that they aren't content to leave it at that. Will you make the same comment when the local fire department needs new equipment to protect themselves? Oh, they knew they'd breathe deadly gases when they took the job... And they get days off... I'll bet they even shop on those contracted days off, the jerks...

calijayhawk 12 years, 6 months ago

One other thing that teachers seem to conveniently leave out when discussing compensation is that they only work 9 months out of the year.

calijayhawk 12 years, 6 months ago

Wow macon - brilliant minds think alike.

Lowell Holmes 12 years, 6 months ago

You people really amaze me, next to parents teachers are the most influential person in a childs life for 12 years, yet you begrudge them a decent salary. And as for being off for 3 months a year do you really think they are just sitting around sipping mai tai's and watching Ophra all summer? Most are working on their own education to make them better teachers, by either working on advanced degrees or attending some kind of seminars to learn new techniques and methods of teaching. Yes then new that teaching wasnt a way to get rich, none of them chose this profession because it was lucrative or easy, their motivations are probably beyond the comprehension of all you scavengers anyway.

princess 12 years, 6 months ago


You asked a question: Do any of you people complaining about the well the teachers are getting even have any kids in school?

And I suspect that since non of the naysayers have answered, that their silence can be interpreted as a NO.

I do not have children. However I have the utmost respect for teachers. I am very thankful for the ones that I had. Most of them were amazing and helped to make me into the person that I am today. I credit them (along with moms and pops of course) with giving me the knowledge and skills that have gotten me to where I am today. Happy, with a job that I love and with excellent pay to boot. I have no problem putting that money back into the system for the next generation. In fact I feel I owe it to them as it was already done for me.

Ignore the greedy pack here for they are foolish and know not of what they speak.

Lowell Holmes 12 years, 6 months ago

macon, I have known more than enough teachers in the past 30 something years to more than validate my arguements.

Princess, thank you for your comments, I am glad I am not the only one here standing up for our teachers.

calijayhawk 12 years, 6 months ago

Obviously teachers are invaluable in the development of our children. The rewards for going into teaching are intrinsic not monetary, and I think most teachers know that.

But, the main point is teachers know what they're getting into - so why do teachers complain about it when they knew all along that they wouldn't get rich teaching?

Plus, it's a very valid point that teaching is not a full time job.

Lawrence teachers starting salary is now $29,550 according to the article - if you convert that to full time by multiplying by 4/3 (the inverse of 9/12 which is the percentage of the year they actually work), the salary, had they worked full-time, is just shy of 40k per year. That's well above the poverty line and comperable to other starting salaries for those with college degrees.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 6 months ago

Your attempts at math are well-intentioned, I'm sure, but the ratio is more like 10/12 (they basically get june and july off) and when you factor in the required college course work to retain their certification, and the work most teachers do in their "vacation" months to be prepared for classes, and then deduct the out-of-pocket expenses for tuition and misc. educational materials most teachers end up buying, and your 40K figure is way off.

Shardwurm 12 years, 6 months ago

I also know many teachers. Several of them spend most of the summers 'hanging around.' Others take on additional jobs to supplement their income and keep themselves busy.

The point, however, is that they are not forced to work 12 months a year. It is optional.

So if the starting salary is $30k then I imagine a teacher who has been around a while is making in the $40s. That's pretty good money for 9 months of work with a summer to do as I wish every year.

Someone above mentioned how influential teachers are and made that out to be a badge of honor to merit higher pay. While I agree that teachers are influential, what if they are influential in a poor way?

My children have had numerous horrible teachers over the years. They were just BAD. So guess what? They got an 8.1 percent increase too and they're still sitting there being lousy at what they do, working 9 months a year, and spending my tax dollar. Great system.

One time a teacher mentioned to us in a conference that she wanted us to support her. I told her that she had it wrong. We were responsible for the education of our children and we expected her to support us. Her jaw hung there open while she searched for something to say.

There are some teachers who are underpaid and many who are overpaid. That's my real hangup with this system. Why don't parents and students get a say in evaluating teachers? I'm all for paying the performers and dropping the losers...but then I guess the union wouldn't stand for that.

Jamesaust 12 years, 6 months ago

An appropriate raise, given the length of time they've been shortchanged in recent years.

That said: I'm not one bit impressed by what's paid in JoCo - they've got money to burn, let them burn it. I'm sure there's an excellant but underpaid teacher in SE Kans. or West. Kans. that we can lure away for every one that leaves.

What continues to surprise me is the shortsighted insistence of "professionals" on not enforcing standards within their own ranks. Hint from the other professions: dump the deadwood, set a very high minimum standard of objective skills, and you'll get much, much more than eight percent. [Alternative: don't hold you breath for another eight anytime soon.] Choice - is teaching more like a factory employing modestly skilled workers who can improve their lot by militant uniformity, or a profession of highly skilled individuals who collectively maintain a wall to keep the unqualified out?

Redneckgal 12 years, 6 months ago

I think merit pay may be the way to go. My kids have had some great teachers and as far as I'm concerned they deserve every penny they get and then some. But then on the other hand we've had some lousy ones too. And its been my experience the more lousy the teacher the louder they whine about not getting paid enough.

I also have to say that I lived next door to a teacher for years and even though she is a nice lady I've never seen her do any kind of training in the summer. She has a 2 week vacation and then spends the rest of the summer at her part time job.

usaschools 12 years, 6 months ago

macon47 needs to check his/her facts before posting. Teachers typically work 186-188 day schedules, not 180. They also work far more than 40 hours per week. It is a FACT that the average teacher works MORE HOURS PER YEAR than the average US employee in other fields. In other words, the amount of days is shorter, but the hours are longer. There is not ONE teacher who can do his/her job without working outside the contractual duty day virtually every day. Many, if not most, teachers also work several days before and after the contract year getting prepared for the year and finishing things up. Similarly, many teachers work in the summer as part of building committees, taking training that is required or that improves their skills, or simply planning ahead.
On a day to day basis, teachers put in more actual work than most. There is no "water cooler talk." A teacher's time is occupied all day. By the time the kids are escorted to the cafeteria and the teacher gets them back to the room, there has been perhaps 25 minutes to eat and use the restroom on the best of days. There are NO breaks -teachers don't get the 2 fifteen minute breaks per day the rest of the working world enjoys. Teachers can't sit at their computers surfing the net, reading the LJW, emailing jokes to their friends and so forth, they are busy teaching. It is an exhausting job. Teachers work long and hard, so don't belittle their efforts with your misinformation.

How many of you will do work for no pay? That is what teachers do. No overtime, no bonus, no Christmas bonus. In FACT, most teachers spend in the $400-500 dollar range per year for supplies for their classroom. How many of you pay that kind of money for supplies to do your job?

As for the 10% failing to show up every day, that is an unsupportable fact. Classroom teachers in Lawrence have 3 business days and 7 sick days per year. Many donate one to one or more pools such as the LEA president leave pool or the catostrophic leave pool, leaving them with 9 days per year. Almost all teachers fail to use all these days each year - many use only one or two. Sometimes teachers require substitutes to participate in training, some of which is required by law (for example, teachers in schools participating in the "Reading First" grant that is part of the "No Child Left Behind" act must participate in 50 hours of training per year [and a lot of this takes place during the summer]). If you actually went to the district and asked for the figures, you would learn that most teachers have accumulated a LOT of days. In other words, 10% of the CLASSROOM TEACHERS are NOT "failing to show up every day."

Not one among the critics of teachers who post here would have the huevos to come to a faculty meeting of even the smallest elementary school in town and say any of the things they write hear. You would not have the nerve, nor the knowledge to support your ridiculous, unsubstantiated arguments.

calvin 12 years, 6 months ago

Congrats to our teachers, this raise is overdue. We have an education comish in this state with absolutely no education experience getting paid $140,000 a year. The teachers I've known have a huge influence in their students lives and they often have to use their own money to pay for basic classroom supplies.

letsgetwise 12 years, 6 months ago

Just had to add my 2-cents... As a matter of fact there have been a couple of my kids teachers shopping ebay during class at South. My kids (and a couple of their friends) caught them when they went up to ask questions. My husband is in the health profession and guess what? He has to take seminars and classes to update his license. All paid out of his pocket and on his own time, usually on weekends. All mandated by the state.

While I do not begrudge the teachers salary increase, and yes, I did read the article and note that not all got an 8.1% increase, I'm tired of hearing some of the complaints. Just get to work all of you and deal with it!

COgirl 12 years, 6 months ago

Unbelievable really...I am extremely tired and irritated by the sweeping generalizations people are bold enough to make: The fact that people are stating and inferring that the only reason people teach is for the 3 months off in the summer is the biggest fallacy and I cannot believe they truely believe this applies to the majority of the people in the profession...I myself am a teacher and know that I would not be able to come to work everyday to work with these children if it were not for the fact that I LOVE MY JOB and know I MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR LIVES - yes the time off is a bonus and I know many of you disgruntled posters are jealous, but be would be virtually impossible to do the job and do it well unless you love it and I don't think most are in it for the time off - give us more credit than that please!

bhanson 12 years, 6 months ago

I would invite anyone who has a problem with the raise to contact their local school and ask if they can come in and give a presentation regarding their profession to the kids for an entire day. Remember that your have to match the state standards and have a measurable assessment of your program. Have it graded and in the grade book that afternoon so the parents don't go ballistic. I would then have the ten or so parents who call and complain because their kid received a bad grade your assignment contact you. The bad grade could be because they were sleeping, oh by the way that's your fault because you didn't reach the kid, or because they told you off, that's also your fault because you didn't show then the respect they deserve. Other reasons for bad grades that will be your fault; problems at home, teachers fault, didn't bring anything to write with or on, teachers fault, didn't want to do the stupid assignment, teachers fault, kids a jerk, teachers fault. If you want to give teachers and students a chance to be successful forget no child left behind. Go to a three strikes rule in the public education system. Starting your freshman year if you have more than tree major violations you a suspended for the rest of the year and the kids' parent will have to find another placement for them. Yes being disrespectful to teachers would be a major violation. As a student, if by your sophomore year if you are not carrying a 2.0 G.P.A., you're gone. Get your GED and start digging ditches. Education is a right, but is something that kids need to value. Students today know than can do and say pretty much whatever they want and they will not be removed form the 7 hours a day of social time

l_eustacy 12 years, 6 months ago

macon47 Since you have no facts, you resort to insults?

Reread the other posts. These peope are trying to educate you.

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