Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2008

Teachers reject board’s initial pay offer

May 29, 2008

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Lawrence school board and teachers association negotiators are far apart on deciding how much to raise salaries for the next school year.

Board negotiators on Wednesday presented their initial offer of a 3.4 percent increase in salary and benefits, which would cost the district an extra $1.54 million compared with last year.

The offer includes $556,166 to account for how much of a boost current teachers would get based on the existing pay schedule, and adds an extra $89,854 to it.

Lead board negotiator Frank Harwood said the salary proposal essentially gives teachers the entire extra funding voters approved in the April local-option budget election.

But Lawrence Education Association negotiators have proposed a 5.6 percent increase to the salary schedule, which would cost $2.2 million.

"We are competing with surrounding districts who have higher pay than we do," LEA President Adela Solis said.

Board negotiators in their proposal included benefits such as $162,000 on more planning time for elementary teachers and $646,920 to start a new retirement plan, which are both part of the negotiations.

Teachers are paid according to a salary schedule that accounts for how long they have worked in the district and how many educational degrees they have.

The two sides disagree about how much money the district has to spend on raises. LEA negotiators say the board has about $3.5 million in new money from the state for next year. Administrators and board members say only $1.8 million can be spent on salaries.

Harwood said the LEA's proposal would cost about $6 million if it includes changing the retirement plan and about $4.6 million without.

"That is so far from any kind of authority we have, that we don't feel like we can move because either we're going to be moving toward a settlement, or we're going to be so far apart that it's not going that direction," Harwood said.

But LEA negotiators say the board team's current raise offer was inadequate, especially considering the board wants to add two more contract days for professional development.

They also said the district continues to fall behind salaries in the area and that the district has dropped from 49 percent to 47 percent in the last three years on how much of the overall budget it spends on teacher salaries, according to Kansas National Education Association data.

Board negotiators said the whole package needs to be considered, including retirement plans, when comparing Lawrence to other districts.

The two sides also argued about why teachers had left the district the last few years. LEA negotiators said salary was a major factor. Board negotiators said data don't completely show that, but LEA negotiators say not enough questions are asked about why teachers leave the district.

"If we want to have this discussion, what we need to do is change the questions on the exit interview and get meaningful data," Solis said.

Negotiations will resume June 10.

Comments

acoupstick 7 years, 2 months ago

"I challenge anyone to find a male teacher who doesn't work a second job, whose wife stays at home with the kids, and who hasn't inherrited a trust fund."

Done. I looked in the mirror.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

"Teachers are paid according to a salary schedule that accounts for how long they have worked in the district and how many educational degrees they have."As opposed to their performance, how good they are at their job and what pay other qualified applicants are willing to take. Name another profession whose pay is based solely on degrees earned, years of service, and without competition from others?

fu7il3 7 years, 2 months ago

The 9 months of work thing is a moot point. Teachers have to make a living for a year, not just while school is in session. Summer break doesn't make mortgages and bills go away.

jmadison 7 years, 2 months ago

We need a higher sales tax and higher property taxes to fully fund the teachers' demands.

craigers 7 years, 2 months ago

I know I didn't get a raise this year because of the economy and tight times. Why should the teachers get more than the proposed rate? And the fact that less money in the total budget is being spent on teachers can tell you that there is fat to be cut in the admin costs of the district.

Take_a_letter_Maria 7 years, 2 months ago

While I am very appreciative of the work that teachers perform, and I come from a family of educators, I have a hard time supporting them on this one.Yes they are paid less than their peers in Olathe, SM, and Blue Valley. Guess what, so are many other professions in city of Lawrence. The company I work for, 3.5% is the top of the matrix for pay increases. The people who grade out the best get that, not those with longevity or multiple degrees. Right now 3.4% would sound good to many of my co-workers because there are some that graded out lower and may not have received any pay increase.I realize this is a negotiating process and you don't jump on the first figure thrown out to you, but I certainly hope the teachers don't hold hard on that 5.6% figure they are tossing out to begin negotiations as well.Of course if you trim some of the fat at the district offices, you could increase the district's offer without needing to increase taxes to cover it.

texburgh 7 years, 2 months ago

How sad.Teachers do work nearly 12 months - in professional development and working on advanced degrees and license renewal requirements. In other businesses, license renewal issues are often handled during work time. Not so in teaching.Teachers work longer days than you think - most planning, grading and preparation goes on after the work day and into the evening. Ask any teacher's spouse. The typical work week is more than 40 hours.Teachers spend their own income on classroom supplies due to a lack of support from the district.Teachers do deserve more pay and deserve higher increases to make up for past deficits. They should indeed get the full amount of money from the tax increase (LOB) which was sold to us as needed for teacher pay to be more competitive. But they should also get the equivalent of the increase in state funding. The percentage of the budget going to salaries should never decrease.How sad that so many commenters on this forum care so little about teaching and learning. Great schools are the best economic development tool a community has. There is less complaining about give aways of tax dollars for the Oread hotel boys - using our money to re-align roads for their project - than there is about paying our teachers professional salaries. How sad.

lawrencemom 7 years, 2 months ago

Another key piece to the teacher salary puzzle is retirement. Very, very few employees now have retirement benefits of any kind. State (government) employees are a rare exception. In many ways, it's "get it now or get it later". Forced savings, if you will.

penguin 7 years, 2 months ago

Last time I checked a negotiation always involves both sides coming up with their ideal set of circumstances and then the parties work out a workable solution. Why is this shocking to so many people. I would say that LEA is making a smart move. They do need to do some work to keep up with the surrounding districts. If you look at the salaries and benefits at even the smaller districts around Lawrence it becomes evident that Lawrence has to compete with people other than Johnson County. Also like everything else you get what you are willing to pay for. Failure to keep up with other districts will just ensure that Lawrence will lose good teachers to other districts.

newsreader 7 years, 2 months ago

if teachers dont think they get paid enough, quit your job and find something else.

salad 7 years, 2 months ago

My experience, even on the high school level is that 80% of all teachers income serves as a supplemental income to their households. The main income is from the spouse. I never saw a female teacher who was worried about comming back to work to make ends meet after having a baby. Usually they come back in 6-10 years after their kids are in school and they need something to do. Clearly their households could handle the drop in income. These are the people we're giving raises to.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Victoria, Cry me a river. Are you serious? You saying that with a straight face is just rediculous. and so long credibility.

Victoria 7 years, 2 months ago

The majority of teachers I know work some type of job in the summer in order to make enough money to live on. Many teachers work two jobs during the school year because teaching alone does not pay enough to maintain a middle class standard of living. It's unfortunate that these people work two jobs because they are tired for both and cannot give 100% to either. Providing a decent salary for those teaching your children 8 hours per day, in addition to feeding them and providing day care for them before and after school, is not too much to ask.

PapaB 7 years, 2 months ago

There are plenty of opportunities for teachers to earn more money. http://jobs.usd497.org/app/app_OpenPositionsCert.aspMy wife is has done various part-time teaching jobs and the pay is fine. starting at $30K for 9 months of work, with guaranteed increases in pay after 3 years until you retire. Amazing job security and you're free to coach something to get some OT. If they want to work year-round, there's summer school and other forms of temporary employment. It's not a bad deal at all compared to other jobs in Lawrence available to recent college grads.

mutpuppy 7 years, 2 months ago

Lawrence teachers don't make near what they should. Teachers in our district have a starting salary with 0 years of experience of $47,000..... in lawrence, I believe that's someone with 18 years of experience or so!

sharper 7 years, 2 months ago

Yeah right Salad! In my family, my mom has been and continues to be the breadwinner. And she's definitely not married to a rich investment banker. And there ARE men who teach too. I'm usually just amused by offensive comments on this board, but your posts were quite ill-informed and alarmingly idiotic. A double-winner!

TopJayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

How sad that often teachers can't argue these issues. They hide behind our Governor and the Supreme court, and if you try to talk about the merits of this, they always come back with: "Don't you care about the children?" How sad we just got hijacked for billions, and now it's still not enough. Anyone not see this gambit coming?

acoupstick 7 years, 2 months ago

"if teachers dont think they get paid enough, quit your job and find something else."Right. If you ever think you don't get paid enough, don't bother asking for a raise, just quit your job and find another. That's a brilliant life strategy.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

How sad the good teachers get paid the same as the bad teachers. How sad that the good teachers get the same salary increase as the bad teachers. How sad that only the rich families have a choice when it comes public versus private education because the NEA opposes vouchers and competition. How sad that teachers feel entitled to wage increases even when their employers don't get wage increases. How sad the taxpayers approve increases in their property taxes to give LEA teachers an increase only to be slapped in the face with demands for more.How sad.

Confrontation 7 years, 2 months ago

Seriously, Rammy, there is a medication for that.

oldvet 7 years, 2 months ago

"When there are vacancies, how difficult is it to fill them "The question that has been asked before and not answered... if the list of unfilled teacher jobs is growing and growing, then we might have a problem... if not, then pay must not be a problem."Name another profession whose pay is based solely on degrees earned, years of service, and without competition from others?"I don't think they count degrees earned, but US manufacturing jobs kept getting raises every year and jobs were protected and promotions earned based on seniority (almost exclusively). Now the competition from around the world has shown up and the US jobs went away because they cost too much."Failure to keep up with other districts will just ensure that Lawrence will lose good teachers to other districts."Let's see the seniority of teachers here to see if this statement holds up. Just like the first comment above, I don't believe there is a shortage of teachers willing to fill the jobs here in Lawrence.

salad 7 years, 2 months ago

"I'm usually just amused by offensive comments on this board, but your posts were quite ill-informed and alarmingly idiotic."Not offensive, just true. I was a teacher for 12 years in a number of different schools in two different states before I wised up and left the profession. Your family is an isolated example and not representative of the norm. Sorry to burst your self-centric world view, but when you combine levels K-12 about 85% of the teachers are female, whose husbands make more than they do. I challenge anyone to find a male teacher who doesn't work a second job, whose wife stays at home with the kids, and who hasn't inherrited a trust fund. Education is the worst of all govt. beauracracies, it has the most waste and the least accountability. Administrator pay is particularly obscene.

acoupstick 7 years, 2 months ago

After actually looking in the mirror, I retract my statement and apologize for the PBT (post before thinking). My situation actually proves salad's point. "Education is the worst of all govt. beauracracies, it has the most waste and the least accountability. Administrator pay is particularly obscene."How do we fix it?

sharper 7 years, 2 months ago

You won't find a male teacher whose wife stays at home with the kids and doesn't work a second job or have a trust fund because they'd be starving or homeless. Teachers don't make enough to have kids and one income, regardless of their gender. I will agree that administrators are grossly overpaid though. And, yes, there are more female teachers than male teachers, but that doesn't mean that those female teachers aren't driven to succeed at their jobs and only do it to supplement the household income and have something to do between taking care of that investment banker husband and babies. I'm actually even more alarmed that you were in education for 12 years and can think this is true.

whatatown 7 years, 2 months ago

5.6% raise! What in the world are they thinking? Teachers are paid quite generously considering the fact that they only work 9 months out of the year. Yes, yes they are shaping our next generations maleable minds, yes yes they do a great service to society, but give me a break. There are tons of jobs out there that deal directly with the protection and education of children which operate a whole (gasp) 12 months out of the year, and I would like to talk to any of them that would even DREAM of asking for a raise that high! Get a grip, teachers. You knew the salary you were taking when you took the job, and your position comes with plenty of perks to make up for what you are not making. Like a 3 month vacation every year.

acoupstick 7 years, 2 months ago

"Teachers are paid quite generously considering the fact that they only work 9 months out of the year"I know few teachers who actually take a 3 month vacation. And most work far more than 40 hours in a week during the school year grading, planning, and participating in extracurricular activities for the benefit of their students. You would be surprised how much time and effort (physical and emotional) it takes to teach well.

Take_a_letter_Maria 7 years, 2 months ago

mutpuppy (Anonymous) says: Lawrence teachers don't make near what they should. Teachers in our district have a starting salary with 0 years of experience of $47,000:.. in lawrence, I believe that's someone with 18 years of experience or so!--------------------------------------------------------------------------What district is that mutpuppy? I have family teaching in one of the richer districts in the state and their pay is nothing close to the number you have thrown out.

formerksteacher 7 years, 2 months ago

hawk, let me know if your child is ever in my class. THEN you'll see why I deserve a raise. I do NOT stop working after nine months. My contract was up on May 22nd, and I'm still in the building every day trying to clean my room, organize, etc. I have attended classes this week and will next week as well. I have meetings scheduled this summer and plan to work all summer long to prepare for my students in the Fall. During the school year I stay at school every single day at least an hour past the duty day, after having arrived a half hour before it began. That's a total of 1.5 hours minimum for 175 days, all free of charge to you the tax payer, if you only consider DURING the school year. And thank god I am married to a man who makes a decent living, because when I was single, I couldn't afford my house payment on my starter home in Lawrence. So, while I may not always support our union in everything it does, I do NOT agree that teachers are paid more than they are worth or that we don't deserve a raise. So there.

salad 7 years, 2 months ago

"Summer break doesn't make mortgages and bills go away."No, the investment banker husband makes the mortgages and bills go away.

littlegrace 7 years, 2 months ago

whatatown (Anonymous) says: 5.6% raise! What in the world are they thinking? Teachers are paid quite generously considering the fact that they only work 9 months out of the year. Yes, yes they are shaping our next generations maleable minds, yes yes they do a great service to society, but give me a break. There are tons of jobs out there that deal directly with the protection and education of children which operate a whole (gasp) 12 months out of the year, and I would like to talk to any of them that would even DREAM of asking for a raise that high! Get a grip, teachers. You knew the salary you were taking when you took the job, and your position comes with plenty of perks to make up for what you are not making. Like a 3 month vacation every year.What you say is incorrect. Teachers have the option of allowing a percentage of each check during the regular school term taken out so that they can get a paycheck during summer months. You may find others working at summer jobs too. I know one who works every summer at McDonald's. There is no three month vacation.

Dixie Jones 7 years, 2 months ago

some of the posters are quiet blind to what a teacher does... they think a teachers day is between 8 am and 3 pm yup that day dont start till johnnys back side hits that chair and stops when johnny stands up at 3, they dont have any class prep to do , no meetings to attend( facuilty ieps, behavior, sit, site councel, school board)no students staying after because they just didnt get that one math problem , if a teacher gets home before 5 pm they are lucky, then of course they dont have any papers to grade nahhh thoes get done by the grading fairy, the prep time for class gets done by that fairy too , then yes they have teacher work days , now thoes days are used for sitting around watching and talking about the soaps they have missed while they been teaching your child, oh and of course bon bons are the main course of the day, and then theres the famous 3 entire months of school off. thats THREE you know when the fairy comes in and cleans and get new text books out,gets together all the work books,cleans the desk, cleans her desk and finds that stupid frog johhny just had to bring to school even tho it was dead (yuk).gets the new list of next yrs students meets with last yrs teacher seeing what and what these kids are capable of doing and whos not going to be able to sit by johhny cause hes a distraction, and makes sure that room is ready to greet thoes new eager learners in aug Of course every evening she has no school work to prepare that just pops in her head at the begining of everyday , on her way to work she thinks hummmmm what shall i teach today. oh yeah lets teach how idiotic some people can be when they have NEVER walked a day in a teachers life.. some never even walking into the classroom..Nope im not a teacher nor would i ever be a teacher, because i see what they do and how little they are appreciated. if you can read this maybe you should thank a teacher. also when you spend a week in a class room full of students i dont care what age or what class and you can still come back and honestly say teaching is a piece of cake .. then you have every right to judge that teacher, but im seriously doubting you would be able to handle it... so dont be so quick to judge till you walk a day in that persons shoes.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

Some teachers deserve higher pay and some not. Giving all teachers an equal increase discourages the good ones and encourages the bad ones to never leave. Further, the NEA and LEA are opposed to merit increases and insist on seniority based wage structure. The good ones end up leaving early on and the bad hang on. These policies results in a below average quality of teachers being paid above what they are worth.

Dixie Jones 7 years, 2 months ago

fu7il3 : not sure where you work but teachers where i work get paid 12 months and snow days. maybe thats why we have so many teachers driving from lawrence to work at our school huh...

whatatown 7 years, 2 months ago

littlegrace-It is true that they can have checks throughout the year. They have that OPTION. I know that teachers often have second jobs during the summer, and sometimes during the school year. Once again, that is an OPTION. They are having their pay rated throughout the year because the fact of the matter is they don't work for three months!

penguin 7 years, 2 months ago

It's funny there was a Newsweek or Time article about the low rate of male to female rates in teaching positions. The article focused on the need to recruit males and other shortage issues. http://spotlight.encarta.msn.com/Feature/encnet_Departments_CareerTraining_default_article_MissingMaleTeachers.html?GT1=10887So this quote is for those who say 85% of teachers are females:"According to statistics recently released by the National Education Association (NEA), men made up just 24.4 percent of the total number of teachers in 2006. In fact, the number of male public school teachers in the U.S. has hit a record 40-year low. Arkansas, at 17.5 percent, and Mississippi, with 17.7 percent, have the lowest percentage of male teachers, while Kansas, at 33.3 percent, and Oregon, with 31.4 percent, boast the largest percentage of men leading the classroom."You might also notice that Kansas has the highest percentage of male teachers in the country. Also this figure includes K-12.

Stephen Roberts 7 years, 2 months ago

If I read the pay matrix correctly, a teacher just out of college make $33,850.The city of Lawrence has an opening for a Police Officer for approx. $39,900.If someone enlisted in the Army their base pay is as a Private is less than 19,000, I added 50% for housing and food, so I adjusted it to 28,000,How does our teachers salaries stack up to people who work year round and are putting their lives at risk? Pretty good if you ask me.I value all of the good teachers but there are too many bad teachers in the district and the admin won't get rid of them because of the LEA. I have spoken to a retired teacher from another district. I was told to get rid of a bad teacher can take two years, unless they do something really, really bad. There is so much training, evaluations, documentation, and coaching that districts have to do before they can get rid of a bad teacher. Great job union protect the bad ones at the expense of the good and great teachers.From my point of view having to go through all of these hurdles discourages the administration from actually getting rid of bad teachers, following the proper procedures. There are other ways to help encourage the bad teacher to quit, go to another school, go to another district, or get promoted to administration.

Stephen Roberts 7 years, 2 months ago

I am really disappointed with the LEA. If all of the teachers get a 3.4% raise, what will the rest of the district employees get? Most will get a percentage less than what the teachers get. My neighbor works for the district and has to put in a lot of time fixing what teachers do not complete. My neighbor has to do more work because too many of the teachers claim they do not have enough time. Without my neighbor's additional work, the district would lose more and more money. The admin doesn't push teachers too make sure they do their paperwork because the LEA will try to reduce the work load for teachers.It is too bad the LEA doesn't see the benefit in real "merit" raises. Good teachers would get paid more and bad teachers would get paid less. This is a foreign concept for the LEA and most unions.By the way, I work far more than teachers and I only get three weeks off a year, including the major holidays. Based on the economy, if I get a 3.4% raise, I would be grateful.

fu7il3 7 years, 2 months ago

"if you can read this maybe you should thank a teacher."I totally agree with you. On the other hand, people would be better able to read it if there were sentences and paragraphs.

Godot 7 years, 2 months ago

Teachers deserve a raise, but the people who pay their salaries are seeing their incomes shrink as the cost of everything else goes up and the value of their assets shrink.Teachers are not exempt from the deflation/inflation crunch. Join the club, and be thankful that Lawrence USD 497 can confiscate enough money, by statute, from the property owners to even provide you with a job.

Take_a_letter_Maria 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm still waiting to hear what district mutpuppy lives in where the beginning teachers' pay is $47k. I've got a degree in secondary ed that I never had an opportunity to use before. With all of the summer activities my kids have, I'd enjoy working on professional development during the summer and being able to see more of my kids activities as opposed to working 7-6 for the same pay.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

Why not allow non-union teachers to be hired who negotiate their own contracts and wage increases. Kansas is a Right to Work State, meaning every other employer is allowed to hire non-union labor. Why shouldn't tax payers be allowed to do the same when they hire teachers? Did the LEA ever get their money back from the person who embezzled their dues?

LogicMan 7 years, 2 months ago

When there are vacancies, how difficult is it to fill them (in terms of numbers of qualified applicants, and not the process)?

deskboy04 7 years, 2 months ago

The inservice days are worthless. The board shouldn't ask for more of them. If I were a teacher, I'd want to get paid as much as the person who orders the little smokies and the sloppy joes. Of course, no teacher will ever make that much.

acoupstick 7 years, 2 months ago

"How sad that only the rich families have a choice when it comes public versus private education because the NEA opposes vouchers and competition"I find the idea of vouchers intriguing, but I do have some problems with it. Most private schools have religious affiliations. Do you care if your tax dollars fund (if indirectly) religious instruction? How about Muslim schools? How about a school associated with Jeremiah Wright? How about a fundamentalist Mormon school that endorses child marriage and polygamy? How about Evangelical schools that teach creationism as science and that the world is less than 10,000 years old? Do you only provide vouchers for non-religious private schools? Is that fair? Private schools are currently not subject to state standards. If they receive vouchers, should they be? If so who pays for accreditation, the school or taxpayers? Does the government provide transportation vouchers so students can attend schools outside their neighborhood? How about lodging vouchers so students can attend private out-of-state schools. Where do we draw the lines? As I stated, the concept of injecting competition and choice into our current system is appealing. By the way I teach at a private religious school. Even though I make considerably less than I would at a public school and enjoy a fraction of the benefits, I chose my job for very tangible reasons related to this discussion. I have very small classes (16 max), I have freedom to design my own curricula, I am not held to specific state of federal standards, I am not required to be certified so I can teach outside my subject area if need be, I have tremendous support from parents and administration, I have opportunity to pursue outside funding for fieldtrips, etc., I don't have to teach to standardized tests so I can focus on developing well-rounded kids who can think critically and creatively, I can easily work with my peers to develop lessons that span multiple disciplines. The list goes on. Small schools can be powerful places.

Dixie Jones 7 years, 1 month ago

fu7il3Thankyour teachernowfor allowing you to have the abilitytonoticethat there were no paragraphsnosentences.smileand havea wonderfulday!

Kathy Gates 7 years, 1 month ago

Salad--you're the one with the self-centric world view. In 17 years of working with school districts across the state I have yet to meet a teacher--female or male--who was only working to supplement the family income. School districts are filled with staff who are single parents--what about them?

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