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Archive for Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lawrence district, teachers at odds over raises

June 9, 2011

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The Lawrence school district wants to pay its teachers another $500 for the coming school year, a one-time raise that would be paid in December using money the district expects to save from reduced costs on health insurance.

The offer came Wednesday night from the district’s negotiating team and, after negotiators for the teachers’ union spent 45 minutes reviewing their notes, their response could be summed up with three simple words.

Thanks for nothing.

“That’s not ‘their’ savings,” said David Reber, lead negotiator for the Lawrence Education Association. “That’s our money. If the insurance costs less, we should be able to get better insurance or something else, because that money is already ours.

“Essentially, it’s smoke and mirrors to make it look like they’re giving us something when, in fact, they’re not.”

The district’s proposal came in response to an earlier request from the teachers’ union, a call for giving all 925 or so licensed educators in the district a $1,500 raise for the 2011-12 school year — giving all teachers pay bumps that would not revert back to 2010-11 levels for the next contract year.

The divide is among the biggest issues being negotiated in pursuit of a new work agreement for licensed educators. Formal negotiations started three months ago, and Wednesday’s meeting was the first time administrators had offered a counter proposal on compensation.

The $500 raises would cost the district about $462,500 in all, or about as much as the district plans to save next year from an 11 percent drop in insurance premiums regarding insurance for licensed educators, said Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer and lead negotiator.

After Wednesday night’s session, Harwood cited state budget cuts as the basis for not meeting the teachers’ request for an additional $1,500 for all teachers. The district has closed Wakarusa Valley School, adjusted other operations and agreed to use contingency funds to make ends meet for the coming school year.

“We’re losing $3 million from the state, and we’ve cut $3 million,” Harwood said. “It doesn’t look like it (additional raises) is in the budget. Something else would have to come out of the budget, or it would have to come from other funds.”

Reber, a biology teacher at Lawrence High School, said that line of reasoning was “tough to buy,” especially considering that all districts have faced state budget cuts but several in the area already have settled on providing teachers larger raises.

“Smoke and mirrors,” Reber said, after the session.

Comments

Truth 2 years, 10 months ago

If the district pays a set amount to a teacher for health insurance, how does the district save money when the premiums drop? Have the premiums dropped below the set amount the district pays its teachers? Also, does the district pay a set amount to the classified staff for health insurance?

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Liberty275 2 years, 10 months ago

No. Apply that and any other funds to lowering taxes. Teachers, it isn't YOUR money until you work for it. I and other Lawrencianers (or whatever you call people from this backwater hole) have already worked for it and had it taken in taxes by whatever city (durr, topeka I know) in this flyover state is the capital.

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nascar 2 years, 10 months ago

Let me get this straight. The BOE "saved" money on a benefit that they had contractually paid to employees last year and now they want to use the SAME money to fund a new contract? Really? That doesn't just seem wrong it seems...

Last I knew the district had money, rather a lot of money, in the contingency fund as well as the special reserve fund. And they want to use the money they contracted for a benefit last year AGAIN?

Someone help explain this to me.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

From my reading of the LJW, district 497 certified staff are the only tax dependent group not getting a raise in recent years. From my observations, teaching is falling further and further behind other traditionally comparable vocations. Police and RNurse come to mind.

Correct me if wrong, it seems teachers understand "fix it" one time pay raises do not help in future salary schedules. I thought teacher salaries were easy to keep track of. A teacher has a Masters, worked 12 years in the district they go to the proper box and find salary.

http://www.bluevalleyk12.org/education/page/download.php?fileinfo=U2FsYXJ5X1NjaGR1bGVfZm9yXzExLTEyXzIucGRmOjo6L3d3dy9zY2hvb2xzL3NjL3JlbW90ZS9pbWFnZXMvZG9jbWdyLzM5MzlfZmlsZV8xMjk4OV9tb2RfMTMwNTY0NDE0OC5wZGY=

My understanding is 497 is not keeping up with step movement which should be adjusted for inflation from time to time. Not fair to have them working on a 1998 salary step schedule for instance.

So, if Tongy gives teachers a 700 smacker addition to the step schedule, it's permanent. Lawrence is tossing "fix it" raises which do not keep up with the inflation step schedule. So Lawrence teachers keep falling behind.

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consumer1 2 years, 10 months ago

Raise??? What the heck is a raise???? I guess the teacher's forgot to tell me that only teacher's get raise's.

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bobberboy 2 years, 10 months ago

the State of Kansas is one of the worst places to work.

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ferrislives 2 years, 10 months ago

“That’s not ‘their’ savings,” said David Reber, lead negotiator for the Lawrence Education Association. “That’s our money. If the insurance costs less, we should be able to get better insurance or something else, because that money is already ours."

Actually, that money is ours Mr. Reber. We are the taxpayers after all.

How about if they close 1 or 2 more schools, including laying off their entire staff, so that the rest of you can get your $1500 raise? Would that work for you? Probably not.

Yes, you're teachers, and that's an admirable profession for most. But you really need to get a reality check; we're all hurting right now. No one's getting raises, and neither should you.

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TRob5 2 years, 10 months ago

David Reber, go check out your contract at publicschoolspending.com

http://www.publicschoolspending.com/kansas/lawrence-usd-497-teachers-contract-2010-11/

Tell us about some more things that we don't have a say in.

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weeslicket 2 years, 10 months ago

quote from the article: The $500 raises would cost the district about $462,500 in all, or about as much as the district plans to save next year from an 11 percent drop in insurance premiums regarding insurance for licensed educators, said Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer and lead negotiator. FALSE

correct facts: the reduction in insurance premiums is 11.7%, which is equal to about $1.125 million. $462,500 is less than HALF of that amount.

please get in the ballgame, Mr. Fagan

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cowboy 2 years, 10 months ago

How bout restoring the hour and position cuts they inflicted on the paras

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Matthew Herbert 2 years, 10 months ago

David Reber works at Free State, not LHS.

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janetmask 2 years, 10 months ago

If you currently have pre-existing conditions like me that have prevented you from being able to qualify for health insurance for at least six months you will have coverage options under new health care. Check "Penny Health Insurance" to find how to get quality insurance for dollars.

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TheStonesSuck 2 years, 10 months ago

Welcome to the new world order. President Camacho will be addressing us soon. In the meantime, help yourself to some Brawndo, it's got electrolytes.

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