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Archive for Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Teachers ask district for $3,250 pay boost

April 18, 2012

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Teachers in the Lawrence school district would like to see a $3,250 raise next year.

That was the offer made Wednesday night by members of the teachers’ union, the Lawrence Education Association. The union asked that the school district keep in place the one-time, $1,000 bonus given to teachers last year and add another $2,250 to that amount.

David Reber, the union’s lead negotiator, said that salaries in the Lawrence district continue to be lower than those of surrounding districts, such as Blue Valley, Olathe and Shawnee Mission.

“It has been quite some time since there has been significant new money added to the (base salaries),” Reber said.

Last year, the school district agreed to boost teachers’ base salaries by $250 and then add a one-time payment of $1,000.

At the very least, Reber said, the teachers would like to see the $1,000 in their paychecks this year, or else they would be taking a pay cut.

To cover the estimated $3 million needed for the increase, the district can draw upon its special reserve fund, Reber said. The fund, which can be used only for health-related expenses, has a balance of $7.8 million and has grown by $2.7 million in three years.

To provide perspective on how teacher salaries compare with the rest of the world, the negotiating team highlighted the positions on the pay scale below $42,643, the threshold for which a family of four qualifies for the free or reduced lunch program. Currently, one-third of the Lawrence teachers’ salaries fall in this range.

In coming years, Reber said, the union would like to re-examine the teacher pay scale, which is based on a teacher’s level of education and years of service. The scale could be a “little smoother” and not have so many “discrepancies,” he said.

Also Wednesday, the teachers’ negotiating team asked that the district prohibit “bullying of one professional employee by another.” The request was in response to an incident in which a group of teachers attended a meeting and provided feedback, which a district administrator was unhappy with and reported back to the teachers’ principal.

Negotiating team member Elizabeth Gabel said there have been too many incidents where teachers have been reprimanded for giving their opinions and have lost trust with the administration as a result.

“Who do they trust to tell?” Gabel asked. “That is the problem. Who can they trust?”

Members of the district’s negotiating team balked at putting such language in the contract. School board member Bob Byers said it is not the first time he has heard of such a complaint, but no one ever provides the specifics needed to take action. But he agreed discussions need to start about putting a process in place to address such issues.

“It does color negotiations,” Byers said. “It always comes up in some way, shape or form.”

Comments

LogicMan 2 years, 7 months ago

“It has been quite some time since there has been significant new money added to the (base salaries),”

Well, welcome to the Great Recession.

You are burning any goodwill you have left with the stressed out public by demanding such a huge increase.

But let's hope the economy recovers, and we can once again invest in the future.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

The rich say we're broke, so the poor and middle class must pay.

chootspa 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes. Other people have had bad things happen to them, so teachers must suffer, too. Let's turn it into a volunteer position that requires a degree and continuing ed credits and see if we can't keep those slots filled.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 7 months ago

If the money is sooooo good somewhere else, then why the hell are you still here. You hold all the cards. Sell your house, move to where the money is better and we will replace you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Yea, let's screw the teachers because we can. After all, anyone going to public schools is genetically deficient and we spend way too much money on people who will just be drags on the People Who Really Matter.

chootspa 2 years, 7 months ago

Right. I love to replace experienced professionals with people who will do the job for less money. Why don't we just set up phone banks in the schools and outsource the teaching to another country?

Flap Doodle 2 years, 7 months ago

How's that hopenchange working out for you?

chootspa 2 years, 7 months ago

Last I checked, Brownie was in charge of the state budget. How's that working out?

tomatogrower 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh yeah. The teachers raise the kids. Parents aren't raising disrespectful lazy kids. It has to be the teachers.

nekansan 2 years, 7 months ago

That is the problem, the best teachers do go somewhere else because of the better opportunities. Lawrence is a great community but the days of relying on our unique culture to retain people are over. We must be competitive in the marketplace and work to attract the best educators in the region.

SVHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

You are exactly right, and many of the best teachers in Lawrence have left and they didnt even have to sell their home or move their familys. The commute to Desoto, Olathe, and Joco isnt that bad if your getting paid thousands of dollars more.

edmclinn 2 years, 7 months ago

I say give them 10,000 raise, but require higher standards for teachers and education. Unless your just opposed to giving a child the best possible education.

chootspa 2 years, 7 months ago

Obviously that "best possible education" didn't work out so well for you and grammar, so I do understand your bitterness. However you're mistaken if you think you've got a point.

chootspa 2 years, 7 months ago

"However" should have had a comma after it.

Alceste 2 years, 7 months ago

Tie teacher pay raises for Douglas County/Lawrence to the same pay raise state of Kansas workers receive. Match it. No more. No less. Let's see how the teachers fare, eh? They've certainly NEVER shown ANY union solidarity with state workers over the past many, many years. Not once.

KSManimal 2 years, 7 months ago

"They've certainly NEVER shown ANY union solidarity with state workers over the past many, many years. Not once."

You're wrong: http://www.workingkansans.com/

Alceste 2 years, 7 months ago

A. Whatever you're referring to on the web page you posted is buried and wasn't found by Alceste.

B. More importantly, Lawrence school teachers have never taken a step forward with KOSE or any of it's predecessors to support pay raises for state workers. Where was the teachers' union when merit pay increases were gutted by the legislature many years back? Answer: Counting their own money on their collective trip to the bank. Boo hoo for the poor, underpaid, school teacher.

It's past time they put up or shut up with respect to union solidarity. Buch of whiners who work a part time job. that's it.

SVHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Their salary reflects their time off in the summers and breaks. That doesnt mean they dont deserve cost of living pay raises. Keep spewing your ignorance though.

hujiko 2 years, 7 months ago

Most teachers do in fact hold summer jobs. All teachers must also gain recertification every few years by taking college courses, an expense taken out of their pocket and done on their own time. Some spend their summers traveling to seminars where they collaborate with peers from all over the country.

Some even do all three of those things in a given summer, and many are keeping track of their own kids simultaneously.

A teacher's job doesn't end when class is dismissed, either. All must grade assignments, create lectures for upcoming classes, and make sure their students are actually gaining something from class. Most are involved in extracurricular activities such as sports or various clubs. Some stick around well past the bell to work with students that are struggling, something they are not required to do.

Teachers don't just deserve fair pay, they also deserve respect. If you would like to argue, first try volunteering at a school. See how easy it is to maintain control of children that have never been disciplined by their parents, while at the same time trying to get them interested in subjects they don't care about. I'd love to see you try.

Anyone disparaging teachers clearly has no idea what teachers actually do.

Susan Mangan 2 years, 7 months ago

And teachers, clearly, have no idea that many other professions deal with the same issues, without the perks of teaching to accomplish our responsibilities. I always hear about how the summer off is necessary because of the continuing education requirement. Thousands, if not millions, of other professionals have the same requirements. But we squeeze our courses and seminars in around our work hours...on weekends, using vacation time, etc. We have to keep up on current tax law, real estate practices, legal issues in specialty, medical advances, best practices in health care, medicines, etc...important things that can affect the lives of people. And I don't know of a single group listed that gets a summer off to accomplish that. It's part of your job, like millions of others'. Quit complaining and acting like you have it so much tougher than anyone else.

hujiko 2 years, 7 months ago

"without the perks of teaching to accomplish our responsibilities."

Perks like getting sick from students because their parents have no judgement to keep them home and quarantined?

Perks like getting chewed out by irate parents when their infallible child isn't making the desired grade and decided to blame the teacher?

Perks like being belittled on internet forums for requesting a modest increase in wages to reflect the higher cost of living we see today?

Yeah, right.

"we squeeze our courses and seminars in around our work hours"

Teacher's don't have work hours, it's a commitment you simply will not understand.

"important things that can affect the lives of people."

So a child's education isn't important? How about the educations of every child in Lawrence? Still not important? If an education isn't one of the most important things that can affect a person's life, I don't know what is.

Quit disparaging teachers and acting like they have it so much easier than anyone else.

Alceste 2 years, 7 months ago

Piffle.

Perks like getting sick from THE PUBLIC because they have to show up and any of ten dozen government offices for this or that due to an immovable date assigned them?

Perks like getting chewed out by THE PUBLIC when the MEMBER of THE PUBLIC isn't getting what they think they're entitled to?

Perks like being belittled on internet forums for requesting a modest increase in wages to reflect the higher cost of living we see today? State workers haven't had a pay raise in forever because the "trust us" legislators abolished the merit system. Private sector wage slaves are told they're lucky to be employed.

It's a waste of Aleste's time to continue forward other than to supply Alceste has a sibling who is grade school teacher who recognizes said sibling has it good. Said sibling just grins when sibling is given a pay raise. "More money to spend during the summer, "Winter" break, "Spring" break, and all them other administrative days off. Man, did I pick a good job!!"

kseagle 2 years, 7 months ago

How about working full days on Wednesdays??? Then the raise would be justified. But until then the answer is NO. Now get back to work!

JGr 2 years, 7 months ago

Teachers do work full days on Wednesdays. The 1.5 hours without students is built in for teachers to collaborate and attend trainings in order to better serve your students.

deec 2 years, 7 months ago

And in return, teachers only work 8 hour days M-F. No more arriving early and staying late. No after school hours PTO conferences or school programs. Papers not graded or lessons planned during the planning period? Tough. Teachers can go home after putting in their 8 hours and relax evenings and weekends. Sorry there are no more bulletin boards decorated or extra activities located and printed for kids who need a little help; I didn't have time during my 8 hour day. The school runs out of crayons, paper or tissues? The kids can do without, so teachers can keep their money they routinely spend to replenish classroom supplies.

hilary 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm a teacher in Lawrence. I went into work at 7:20 this morning, got home at 6:30 to eat dinner, and I'm heading back to watch the school play. Nice try, though. You clearly don't hang out with teachers.

Tracy Rogers 2 years, 7 months ago

That's a reply to kseagle. Love the way this board posts your reply at the bottom......not.

SVHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Then who would ever teach the SPED students or remedial classes those students are not going to have large success rates? How are you going to assess the perfromance of students?

Stuart Sweeney 2 years, 7 months ago

Performance based pay raises only reward suckups and miss the dedicated teachers unless they suckup also. Is this how your job rewards you? Do you enjoy being a suckup?

chootspa 2 years, 7 months ago

I've never had a truly performance based merit raise in the "real" world. All my raises have either been experience based or just random subjective raises based on the whims of supervisors. Unless you're in sales or make widgets, it's very hard to find an objective standard of measuring productivity.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

I say give the teachers a raise absolutely!

"Also Wednesday, the teachers’ negotiating team asked that the district prohibit “bullying of one professional employee by another.” The request was in response to an incident in which a group of teachers attended a meeting and provided feedback, which a district administrator was unhappy with and reported back to the teachers’ principal.

Negotiating team member Elizabeth Gabel said there have been too many incidents where teachers have been reprimanded for giving their opinions and have lost trust with the administration as a result.

“Who do they trust to tell?” Gabel asked. “That is the problem. Who can they trust?”

Members of the district’s negotiating team balked at putting such language in the contract."

Find out who that "administrator" is/was and terminate the individual(s)! Damn right!

City workers are encouraged NOT to express their opinions on local matters and certainly not at the city commission meetings. That's the rumor which could be true considering none show up to raise hell about neigborhood issues.

Kinda like the GOP. If a GOP person disagrees with Brownback or GOP presidents big money shows up to oust those thinkers. Which explains why the GOP is dead.

pace 2 years, 7 months ago

My aunt has switched, she said she was still Republican but the republicans aren't republicans anymore. Said they turned into some sort of cult. She hates Brownback.

cowboy 2 years, 7 months ago

I would invite any of the above critics to go volunteer at your local school for a day. I interned at a school back when I was in my twenties and it flat wore me out.

Mike Ford 2 years, 7 months ago

My late mother taught 2nd grade at McLouth for seven years. Due to the value of tenure my mother travelled from near Emporia to McLouth to keep a paycheck. She got a job as a librarian in Emporia due to her masters degree from KSU in library science. The greedlicans there didn't pass a LOB in the early 1990's and her decade of work and masters degree were discounted by people who sound like some of our simpleton conservatives on here. She managed to get on as a librarian at Burlington for a number of years. However, she had a principal who played teachers against librarian for machiavellian fun and this and a divorce led her to a underperforming school in Pensacola Florida that was damaged considerably by Hurricane Ivan. Distracted by schools pushing standardized tests instead of actual learning and working from 7am to 5pm doing much work off the clock as the school and disconnected tax payers wanted and playing parent to underraised children was not rewarding. Neither was taking an off the books job at a thrift shop to supplement her income and clothe her relatives after they lost everything in Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi. Sadly to say the distraction and the disconnected education haters took their toll. My mother was distracted by overwork when she blew a stop sign off an interstate exit and was killed instantly by another driver much like the distracted teacher in Baldwin who pulled out in front of a quarry truck and was killed instantly a couple of years ago south of Lawrence. It is dishartening to hear some of the simpletons on here attack teachers but that's what simpletons do. They have no idea what it takes to teach between testing, principal and district politics and disconnected archie bunkers all of this should take the rewarding feeling of teaching kids away but somehow my mom maintained diligence in her work. This should put a face on teachers who work themselves to the bone to be attacked by AM radio dunces, Wisconsin governers, and archie bunkers. You're welcome.

Mike Ford 2 years, 7 months ago

spoken like A TRUE heartless uneducated conservative troll....I hope you have to travel 1000 miles to bury your mother some day.

mdab1609 2 years, 7 months ago

"heartless uneducated conservative troll"

Reads next line of your post

Hahaha. Not the best thing to post after accusing someone else of being heartless..

Mike Ford 2 years, 7 months ago

my mom was a teacher, my mom was overworked, my mom was underpaid, and your america is the one on the verge of taking this country into even dumber places than it went during reagan.

booyalab 2 years, 7 months ago

It's strange how much teachers apparently hate their jobs and yet homeschooling is becoming much more popular, even though parents lose money on the endeavor. The truth is that in public school the quality of teachers is a crapshoot. Parents are increasingly recognizing that they care more than the average teacher about their kids' education. It makes sense. The classroom is an assembly line at best. More typically, it's a sociological laboratory or the teacher's dreary obligation.

Mike Ford 2 years, 7 months ago

I once walked into the Lawrence Wal-Mart with my mom and a young women in her twenties was working in the auto department. She saw my mom and told her the positive effect my mom had on her as a 2nd grade teacher. One of my views on home schooling is that people who are against multi cultural schools and secular science who harbor some sense of intolerence based in religious dogma retreat to home schooling. I was both a ministers and teacher's kid so I witnessed this firsthand. Secondly, schools who don't deal with learning issues and bullies drive parents to homeschool their kids. Also, the majority views of minority history mean white washed views of history and culture. None of the indigenous history I mention on here was taught to me in any public school and barely taught to me in college. I've spent almost twenty years learning what I know on my own for the most part with good mentors.

Cogito_Ergo_Es 2 years, 7 months ago

Sadly, I don't know where the money will come from. While I agree teachers work VERY hard, how do you get blood from a stone? Perhaps the district will step up and show us the real books. But, otherwise, I don't get it. It looks entirely possible that Brownback, who is not a supporter of K-12 education, will kill a bi-partisan bill that would have raised base state aid per pupil, so no help there. The district is talking about adding full-day kindergarten to four more schools, the class sizes are way too high and need to be lowered (as teachers well know!), and they decided not to close anymore schools (good thing). You don't have Wakarusa Valley to kick around any more, so now what?

Apollo Hernandez 2 years, 7 months ago

The sad thing is so many people love Brownback.

JayhawksandHerd 2 years, 7 months ago

"Pay not good enough? Migrate"

Done and done. See ya.

JayhawksandHerd 2 years, 7 months ago

Also, for what it's worth, when I was teaching in Kansas, I was far too busy to post comments on an internet forum during the middle of the day. Just sayin'.

tbaker 2 years, 7 months ago

So did the teacher's union come to the meeting with charts and graphs and present a briefing illustrating what a great job they are doing raising test scores? Lowering the appalling drop-out rate? Increasing the number of 9th graders that actually graduate on time? Did they illustrate how their per-student costs are producing equal to or greater than academic performance found in similar measures of private school performance? Did they provide a single performance metric to justify a pay increase?

Of course not.

They showed up whining about what teachers get paid in other districts and used that as a basis to fleece more money from the tax payers. They wouldn’t dream of actually putting forth an objective analysis of their actual job performance as the foundation of their argument. (like everyone else in the real world has to do to justify a raise)

They should be paid for performance, or the tax payers should be given the option to take their tax money and spend it on sending their children to a private school that out-performs the public school they are currently forced to use. After all it is about the children, not the teachers union.

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