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Archive for Friday, June 17, 2011

Lawrence teachers make case for wage, benefit boost

June 17, 2011

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Negotiators representing more than 900 educators in the Lawrence school district are pushing back against their administrative bosses, arguing that teachers and other licensed personnel deserve larger raises and better benefits than they’ve been offered.

And the Lawrence Education Association representatives brought numbers to back them up, as they work to form a master agreement to determine compensation and working conditions for educators for 2011-12.

Union negotiators on Thursday reiterated their stance that the district should boost wages for licensed educators by $1,500 a year, and that the boost should remain in place as years go by.

District negotiators last week had offered to boost salaries by $500, in a one-time payment that would come in December but not remain on the books for future years.

David Reber, the union’s lead negotiator, dismissed the district’s offer as unfair and offered up justification: According to data compiled by the Kansas National Education Association, using numbers reported by the Kansas State Department of Education, the “total compensation package” enjoyed by different employee groups in the district ranks:

• 75th statewide for teachers, averaging $51,089.

• 47th for administrators, averaging $87,574.

• 20th for the superintendent, averaging $158,269.

Teachers understand, he said, that when times are tough, the district must be responsible with its expenditures.

“But it seems like what money there is ought to go around equitably,” Reber said. “It doesn’t seem equitable.”

Reber also distributed charts outlining what each member of the union’s negotiating team earns in Lawrence, and would be earning in other districts within commuting distance:

• Reber, a Free State High School biology teacher, earns $49,830 in Lawrence, while he could make $59,800 in Kansas City, Kan.

• Deena Burnett, a language arts teacher at West Middle School, makes $46,055 in Lawrence, but could be earning $54,657 in Blue Valley.

• Chris Cobb, a math teacher at South Middle School, makes $45,430 in Lawrence, but would be earning $62,547 in Olathe.

Frank Harwood, the district’s lead negotiator and chief operations officer, was quick to point out that Lawrence teachers typically earn more money faster in Lawrence — the salary scale includes fewer spaces before “topping out” based on experience — than elsewhere.

“If you get to a higher salary sooner, and earn that for 15 years, your career salary would be similar,” said Harwood, who noted that union members had sought the current salary structure five years ago.

Cobb — who, like nearly half of all licensed educators in the Lawrence district, has hit the top of his pay scale based on experience — chuckled at the thought, noting that the state’s retirement system bases retirement benefits on the wages earned during an employee’s last three years.

“I would much rather have my retirement benefits based on $66,000, rather than $48,000,” he said, using general numbers.

The union also forwarded its desire to have the district boost its spending on health insurance by 32 percent.

Negotiations are scheduled to continue next week.

Comments

commuter 3 years, 6 months ago

Cobb — who, like nearly half of all licensed educators in the Lawrence district, has hit the top of his pay scale based on experience — chuckled at the thought, noting that the state’s retirement system bases retirement benefits on the wages earned during an employee’s last three years.

“I would much rather have my retirement benefits based on $66,000, rather than $48,000,” he said, using general numbers. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

then try to get a teaching job in the KC area then. My neighbor who works in the admin bldg had to take a gross pay cut to make the previous budget works, hasn't had her pay restored yet, so I say pay increases for teachers until all previous pay cuts are restored.

Soapbox 3 years, 6 months ago

Quit complaining and go get those other jobs. They sound like children! These people are directing our children's future? We are in trouble.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

Teachers do leave the Lawrence district for better paying districts.

I guess you'd rather have a district staffed primarily with 1st and 2nd year teachers.

Amy Heeter 3 years, 6 months ago

Normally I would be in support if pay increases for teachers. Not now though. Everyone is struggling and now is not the time.

llama726 3 years, 6 months ago

CEOs, executives - the wealthiest 1-2% - they aren't struggling right now. They're getting way richer.

gkerr 3 years, 6 months ago

Llama726, Straw man Llama. Apples to oranges. Big company CEO's are part of the elitist problem in this country. Most business leaders in this country are small business owners and executives and many are going out of business or cutting back. Besides private sector is different from public sector which (public sector) has done well for past decades relative to private sector which has been struggling.
Politicians have done best of all over past decade. Why queen of public sector Nancy Pelosi has increased her total wealth by 62 % since the recession began. Clintons left White house nearly Penniless and now are worth about 100 million.

These teachers love to be in Lawrence with it's University Cache. If money is more important to them let them go into Union leadership or politics or move to KC Kansas, or perhaps go into private business and innovate a better living. Gkerr

KSManimal 3 years, 6 months ago

If everyone is struggling, why do Lawrence's administrative salaries rank so much better than teacher's salaries?

If everyone is struggling, why can surrounding districts afford to pay their teachers upwards of $10,000 more?

Did the state only cut funding for Lawrence Public Schools and not for other districts? Please explain.....

Tracy Rogers 3 years, 6 months ago

Notice in all categories they are still well into the upper half of each? I didn't see any references to what they could be making if they move to western Kansas. Shut up and do your job. If the grass is greener, then go for it.

ferrislives 3 years, 6 months ago

"Reber also distributed charts outlining what each member of the union’s negotiating team earns in Lawrence, and would be earning in other districts within commuting distance: • Reber, a Free State High School biology teacher, earns $49,830 in Lawrence, while he could make $59,800 in Kansas City, Kan. • Deena Burnett, a language arts teacher at West Middle School, makes $46,055 in Lawrence, but could be earning $54,657 in Blue Valley. • Chris Cobb, a math teacher at South Middle School, makes $45,430 in Lawrence, but would be earning $62,547 in Olathe."

They didn't take into account the cost of commuting to those other communities, which would eat away at whatever pay increase they'd get.

Bozo says "Teachers do leave the Lawrence district for better paying districts."

I know several teachers who did have great jobs in Johnson County school districts, and they've all lost their jobs. They're now stuck doing other things besides teaching because of those schools paying their teachers more. So I say again, give them their pay raise when they ok the layoff of several teachers to make up the difference.

This union is living in la-la land if they believe that they are above everyone else who is not receiving pay raises during these difficult times.

Boo hoo is right.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

Parkinson was a nominally former Republican, and he presided over an overwhelmingly Republican legislature.

Brownback is an unrepentant true believer. Sure, Democrats have become pretty good at playing the Republican-lite game, but the race to the bottom that props up the rich and powerful is still essentially Republican, and they're not backing down.

Enjoy what you have, because it won't be long before you have even less. That's Sam's job-- the only job he really gives a damn about.

ferrislives 3 years, 6 months ago

"FL: " So I say again, give them their pay raise when they ok the layoff of several teachers to make up the difference." === Sadly, that's probably where we are going with Muscular Sam and his minions. In a nearly zero sum game, people will have to walk the plank so those still on the boat can get a raise."

I agree. The teacher's union keeps trying to compare themselves with Johnson County school districts, and that's exactly what they've been doing for the past few years. So if they want to be treated like JC teachers, that's what will happen to them as well. They should watch what they ask for.

By the way, I absolutely agree that the administration needs to make more cuts across the board, especially to their high paychecks. If they expect others to deal with stagnant pay, they should be willing to do the same thing.

gkerr 3 years, 6 months ago

The rich and the powerful tend to be Democrats. You are trading on 70 year old meme. Like I said on another thread, but in the context of this one it bears repeating:    You attack greedy corporate fat cats and corporations cozy with the government.  Good for you.  I do too and so do most sane Americans.  Before you seethe more at republicans be aware, if you are not already aware but ashamed to admit it, that most Wall street fat cats, New York bankers, media elites, entertainment elites, corporate elites are democrats or democrat supporters.  GE's Immelt has been in bed withe Dems for years, same with Google Mogels, Silicone valley billionaires, BP executives, Cap and Trade investors, denizens of the Hamptons, Martha's Vinyard, Cape Cod, Warren Buffet, the 200 plus Soros front corporations, big Law, big labor,  big education, even big Pharma, Big medicine, Toni neighborhoods of New York, Chicago, Boston, etc. are all Democrat heavy areas.  Dems dominate the elites.  Elites love the Dems cause they are easier to buy than the Republicans who are all too ready to sell themselves as well.  Look we are by many accounts (ex: USA today and  Bill Gross of Pimco bond fame) between 61 and 100 trillion in debt based on Federal government services already in arrears and promised services with no visible means of paying for themselves by any accounting standards.   100 trillion dollars is a whole lot of money, 100,000 billion dollars to be exact.  It's time for tough love.  It is time for all cool aide drinkers to wake up and quit looking at our friends through rose colored glasses and our Imagined and real enemies through the jaundiced yellow lens? The age of austerity is upon us and austerity begins with what we can control, our family, county, and state budgets are a good place to start. Gkerr

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

So

Those of you supporting this increase are ready to accept a flat tax assessment on each taxpayer to cover the cost? Somebody has to pay for this. Many some bodies here about are not getting pay raises.

Sticking the homeowner with this cost - and that is where it will go - is reprehensible.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

Maybe the real problem is that our society subsidizes children out of all proportion to our needs. Have three kids and saddle the rest of us with at least twenty years of high taxes to pay for all the services we provide the parents. How about you get one free and after that you pay a huge supplement to your taxes (flat not proportionate).

Also helps in a big way to solve climate change problems - if we are actually causing all of them.

xclusive85 3 years, 6 months ago

So, honest question here. Is Mr. Harwood going to be completing these negotiations before he leaves for his new job, or will Mr. Hayden be finishing the negotiations?

irvan moore 3 years, 6 months ago

i am sure we have many deserving teachers who deserve more money but there isn't any.

persevering_gal 3 years, 6 months ago

I have never had such a respect for a teacher until I observed many of them for the past 9 months. Many believe that they have the summers off, which is not entirely true. While they may have some time off, many are beginning to prep in late June/early July while also attending meetings and trying to create an itinerary for their students. It is incredible to see the amount of work they are responsible for. Not only are they responsible for the education in the classroom, they also have to take into consideration the problem behaviors and the extra attention that some students may need.

While this isn't the greatest time to be asking for a pay raise for licensed teachers, I believe they should be paid much more than they are given credit for. I feel especially bad for classified staff such as the paraeducators who make a whopping $9-$10/hr even with a degree. Bravo to the teachers and paras who help make a difference in the lives of our children!

exlion 3 years, 6 months ago

consumer1, fess up...how much do you make? how many hours? what are the job expectations? Which techer in your past pissed in your soup?

waka3 3 years, 6 months ago

dude we have way to many teathers as it is

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