Archive for Tuesday, July 11, 2006

City teachers press for pay-schedule change

July 11, 2006


Lawrence teachers want a new salary grid.

Instead of having to put in 25 years before reaching the top of school district's salary schedule, they want to get there in 15 years.

"Right now, if you're a brand new teacher, you start out at $29,000 and 25 years from now, you would reach the highest point on the schedule - and that's $54,000 if you have a master's degree and an additional 60 graduate credit hours," said Kelly Barker, a junior high civics and history teacher and lead negotiator for the Lawrence Education Assn.

"We want that first-year teacher to reach that high point in 15 years rather than 25," Barker said after a three-and-a-half hour contract negotiation session Monday. "We want the schedule to move faster."

The proposed change, he said, is designed to allow teachers to earn more money over the length of their careers.

The school board, represented by Cordley School Principal Kim Bodensteiner, offered to put an additional $1.1 million into the new schedule. But instead of 15 years, it proposed first going to 20 years.

"The board team proposed 20 years because of the expense," Bodensteiner said.

Both sides, Bodensteiner and Barker said, favor a "faster" salary schedule. Whether it's 15 years or 20 years or somewhere in between is still to be negotiated.

"We support the 15-year salary schedule," Bodensteiner said. "The question is when and how quickly can the funding be available to make it happen."

The two sides generally agree on the district's fringe benefit package and its early retirement incentives.

Barker and Bodensteiner said negotiations are hamstrung by the district's not knowing whether the Kansas Supreme Court will approve the three-year, $466 million funding package passed by the 2006 Legislature.

Initial projections have shown the Lawrence school district receiving an additional $2.8 million.

But Bodensteiner warned, "We have to take out $900,000 for special education costs, and we're required to spend $700,000 on at-risk programs. That doesn't leave much."

The court heard arguments for and against the spending package last month but gave no indication when it would issue a ruling.

Contract negotiations resume July 25.


BDitty 11 years, 11 months ago

Our society should be disgusted with how we treat teachers. I work at a grocery store and make more than a starting teacher.... absolutely ridiculous!!!

conservative 11 years, 11 months ago

BDitty, agreed, but also feel compelled to look at another factor. The teachers are only working approximately 180 days per year, and you're working 260 days per year. So using that ratio you end up with the 29,000 per year being equivalent to almost 42,000 if they were working full time.

Not saying they don't deserve more, but see many of them getting to school after I'm at work, and leaving before I'm off work. And because of early dismissal Wednesdays I know of many that don't take their work home with them anymore.

Ken Miller 11 years, 11 months ago

I have volunteered in the past in a Lawrence public (elementary) school. I have watched three different teachers over three separate grades do a pretty darn good job of keeping 20-25 kids in line, engaged and LEARNING. We DEFINITELY underpay these folks.

I, for one, support creating/raising so-called "sin taxes" on gambling, booze and/or cigarettes and earmarking the additional revenue for school spending, including salaries for teachers.

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