Elementary teachers may have to wait until 2008 to get extra time to plan their classes.
Negotiators for the Lawrence Education Association and the Lawrence school district decided Friday to put the issue on hold for one year in order to give each side more time to study the issue.
"I wouldn't say we're backing away from it," said Kelly Barker, LEA's chief negotiator. "What we're doing is we're continuing to take the plan that we have and we want to figure out how to implement it. We realize that's going to take a little bit more time than we thought."
The two sides drew up a "memo of understanding" that states they will continue to study the issue of giving elementary teachers at least five hours and 25 minutes of planning time per week, and that a plan should be implemented in time for the 2008-09 school year.
Negotiators also discussed getting rid of the district's early retirement program. The changes would apply only to those hired after the 2007-08 school year.
Kim Bodensteiner, administrator and chief negotiator for the district, said the existing early retirement system is too costly.
If a teacher's age and years of service add up to at least 85, he or she can get retirement benefits.
This year, 26 employees in the district took advantage of the early retirement system, while seven employees took regular retirement.
"We think that there are some other ways that we can craft a plan that would be more beneficial to employees and would help them build more funds for retirement in a different way," she said.
But money continues to be the sticking point for the two groups.
Negotiators for the district have offered teachers a pool of $1.2 million for a salary increase, health insurance costs and early retirement benefits. LEA, however, is asking them to spend $2.8 million.