Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2005

Agreement on teacher pay ‘a long way apart’

September 22, 2005


Lawrence teachers and school officials on Wednesday remained split about the size of salary raise teachers should receive.

"We're still a long way apart," said Kelly Barker, a spokesman for the school districts' teachers.

Many of the roughly 30 teachers who attended the 90-minute session wore T-shirts characterizing the Lawrence school district as a minor league team that trains teachers for "major league" schools in Northeast Kansas.

The shirts bore charts that showed Lawrence teachers earn thousands of dollars less than their peers in neighboring Johnson County.

"It's embarrassing," said Kristyn Nieder, a fifth-grade teacher at Quail Run. "Here's Lawrence, a college town that's so well-educated, and we don't even pay our starting teachers $30,000 a year - Wellsville pays its starting teachers $31,000 a year."

Southwest Junior High teachers, from left, Maureen Williams, Jim Frink, Danielle Lotton-Barker, Jane Liggett, Christine Drinkhouse and Renee Harders don special T-shirts to the latest round of teacher negotiations.

Southwest Junior High teachers, from left, Maureen Williams, Jim Frink, Danielle Lotton-Barker, Jane Liggett, Christine Drinkhouse and Renee Harders don special T-shirts to the latest round of teacher negotiations.

The teachers and district have settled one issue: They agreed Wednesday to stick, for now, with the existing salary "schedule," even though both sides agree it's broken.

But money remains an issue.

Using the existing salary structure, the teachers proposed raising the base salary figure by $1,500. With incentives for longevity and other considerations, most of the district's teachers would take home an additional $2,400 to $3,000 annually.

District representatives balked at the $1,500 figure. Instead, they offered to add $2.6 million into the formula, an amount, they said, that represents an 8 percent raise.

But the teachers argued the $2.6 million figure includes payroll expenses and health insurance premiums and should not be confused with an increase in take-home pay.

"I'm not worried about 'percent,' I'm worried about dollars," Barker said.

Barker and Mary Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the district's negotiations team, agreed that for most teachers, the district's $2.6 million offer would result in lesser raises than the teachers' proposal.

District representatives agreed to come up with an apples-to-apples comparison in time for the groups' next meeting, Sept. 30.

Nieder bristled at the district's claim that teachers are in line for an 8 percent raise.

"After you take out the payroll expenses, it'll be closer to 5 percent," she said. "And that's after getting no increase for all of last year."

Nieder conceded that the district had followed through on its promise to offset last year's stalled negotiations with retroactive, lump-sum raise payments in August, shortly after the district received its first increase-in-state-aid check.

The back of the shirts show the comparison of Lawrence teacher wages with that of nearby districts.

The back of the shirts show the comparison of Lawrence teacher wages with that of nearby districts.

"You know how much I got? Seven hundred dollars," Nieder said. "And I did better than most - that's $700 for the year."

Al Gyles, a 34-year math teacher with a master's degree, said his check was for $125.

"We have a lot of ground to make up," said Dan Karasek, a fifth-grade teacher at Prairie Park.

Nearly two-thirds of the state's 300 school districts have ratified contracts with their teachers.

"Actually, the confirmed number is 194," said Jim Hays, a research specialist at the Kansas Association of School Boards. "Another 13 reached agreement, but they've not yet been ratified."

Statewide, the median raise for teachers - a combination of salary, supplemental contracts, benefits - stands at 5 percent, Hays said.

Raises in the state's bigger districts, he said, tend to be larger than those in the medium-size and smaller districts. The larger districts have benefited from additional aid for bilingual and at-risk students while the smaller districts' budgets have been hurt by persistent declines in enrollment.

Hays said Lawrence is in the unfortunate position of being a large district that's lost enrollment in recent years.


macon47 8 years, 7 months ago

FOLKS, i am serious as a HEART ATTACK. Too many teachers are skipping work , and the adminstration is ignoring it. They have subs with nearly full time jobs filling in for teachers that want a SKIP DAY to shop. everyone has a sickness and needs a day off ,, but not 10% or more every day. The journal world did an article a few years ago and touched the subject, randy and mary r. addressed it for the media, but CRUSHED THE PUBLIC INFO LATER. if you cant figure it our, i cant help you. we could pay our GOOD TEACHERS MORE if we got rid of the thurs friday shoppers . the school has ccmputer print outs but they are hidden ,,] I GUARANTEE.


Shardwurm 8 years, 7 months ago

"But any teacher that thinks they can support a family on a first years teachers salary, has not done their homework."

I couldn't support a family in my first year out of college either and I'm not a teacher. I'd wager that most 'first years' (sic) salaries will not support a family in ANY job.


macon47 8 years, 7 months ago

try tracking thier activities for over 9 yrs for information, i have the facts to back it up. the gutless administration wont do anything, they are fully aware of the problem the board members just get blown off by the administrators when they ask, everyone on the inside is very aware. its just another wink wink nod nod.


laughingatallofu 8 years, 7 months ago


Are you blowing smoke or do you have information to back up you allegations that teachers are "going shopping on a regular basis"? That's a pretty serious charge. Why don't you take your allegations to the school board? We ought to fire their butts, right? So, what does macon47 do all day? Stalk teachers? Isn't stalking a crime as well?


macon47 8 years, 7 months ago

I think alot of our teachers do reserve a raise, since our administrtors got such a nice one. I never want at teacher to come to work SICK . I stated too many of them were calling in sick and going shopping on a regular basis. AND THATS A FACT JACK, the pay that goes to the substitues, is just less money the school has to pay the teachers that do show up for work on a regular basis. we have alot of great teachers and we need great teachers for the kids. But any teacher that thinks they can support a family on a first years teachers salary, has not done their homework


brainfodder 8 years, 7 months ago

Macon, your calculations are based on teachers working 40 hours a week. Find one teacher who does that. The parking lot at the high school (teacher spaces) are full by 7:30 and not empty until 5:00. Add to that the work taken home for grading, the club sponsoring (unpaid), the lesson planning in the evenings, and the parent contact done in the evening, and you have a work week easily beyond 40.

Teachers do not get paid to attend classes, and the cost of attending the classes is greater than the pay increase for having taken them. This year, teachers aren't being paid for having taken more classes, even if they have finished another degree because the board won't agree to do so yet.

In addition, when do you think teachers write their curriculum, activities, tests, quizzes, homework assignments, or do the research needed to keep current on their subjects? During the summer time that you seem to view as an extended vacation.

I personally wouldn't mind if teachers had fewer sick days to work with, if we could expose them to fewer children. Children, for those of you who have never met one, are walking talking disease factories.

And saying that teachers in college towns should expect to be underpaid because of oversupply is not accurate. Please examine the state board of education's records of newly certified science and math teachers on their website to find out how scarce they are.


macon47 8 years, 7 months ago

Teachers are not considered full time employees. they are contracted by the year. They would average less than 28 hrs per week IF they worked the same hours 52 weeks per year. They do not get paid directly for most of these classes, However most of the time the added education adds to their pay scale grade and their salary can increase somewhat.


Sandra Willis 8 years, 7 months ago

macon, The teachers in Lawrence have the option to schedule their paychecks to be paid during the full year. They are required to continue at University-level classes, to increase their knowledge (making them more valuable to the community). I do not know if they get paid for these classes.


macon47 8 years, 7 months ago

Teaching jobs have never been on the high side of the pay scale. And it is traditionally worse in college towns where supply outstrips demand. So why does a person choose a teaching career, especially in Lawrence if salary is a factor? They knew it going in that pay was poor. Sure a lot of them really care about the kids, and get a great amount of satisfaction from teaching.. However, too many of the whiners just want a job they only have to work at for 180 days per year. 30 grand for 180 days work is $166.00 per day and that's not chump change Most real jobs that pay well require about 250 days per year. At the same rate this would be a salary of nearly $42,000.00 why would any one expect a full time salary for only working 180 days per year?


dotteboy 8 years, 7 months ago

Without a pay raise, how can teachers afford to put food on their families? Is our children learning?


macon47 8 years, 7 months ago

Their t shirts should read, "ABOUT 90% OF US CARE ENOUGH TO SHOW UP FOR WORK" Over 10% of the teachers don't show up for work on a daily basis . This means substitutes must be paid to do their work. Sure, everyone gets sick, or has a family emergency once in a while: but 10% every day??. I cannot think of one business in town that would allow this, or more importantly could afford it. Why not reward the teachers that make it to work on a regular basis, and penalize the groups that Schedule their days off for out of town shopping fun things. Besides, teachers Pay in college towns has always been less than neighboring towns. That is a fact of life.


tce73 8 years, 7 months ago

Negotiations have gotten us nowhere. In the meantime, teachers pay MORE for health insurance and receive LESS in pay. Paychecks - take home pay - are going DOWN, not UP. Absolutely ridiculous. For the third year in a row. Sick and tired of this teacher negotiation BS. Get these people the salary they deserve - they are supporting their familes on these pathetic salaries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Jayhawk226 8 years, 7 months ago

Change the State law....unionize and strike!!!

Enough of this "teacher association" as we do in Chicago, unionize! And not just 15% of the teachers....EVERYBODY is on board!

You don't get the pay you deserve, strike.

Solidarity forever!!!

Check out a site on teacher and administrator salaries.

You'll be amazed by what teachers and administrators earn in the Chicagoland area. Top administrator earned over $330,000 and the top teacher earned over $170,000.


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