A boost in salaries, health insurance contributions and what teachers get paid to cover extracurricular duties are all on the line in the latest round of negotiations between teachers and Lawrence school district administrators.
On Wednesday, the first meeting was held between the two negotiating teams representing the school board and the Lawrence Education Association.
Specifically, the Lawrence Education Association is asking that the district increase the salaries that teachers start out with and the maximum salaries that experienced teachers can reach. The LEA also wants greater incentives for teachers who earn advanced degrees and attend in-service trainings.
“When we’re out and talking with teachers in the district, they always come back to money,” said David Reber, a biology teacher at Free State High School and lead negotiator for the Lawrence Education Association.
Also on the table is a request for the board to bump up its contributions to health insurance, which Reber said is on the low end of what other surrounding districts contribute. And teachers want the board to re-examine which duties outside the school day, such as chaperoning school dances or taking tickets at events, are compensated and how teachers are notified of those jobs.
Wednesday’s meeting was just the start of what is expected to be months worth of negotiating.
Last year, the negotiations took five months and ended with a $1,250 raise for every licensed educator in the district. Of that amount, $1,000 was doled out in one lump sum in December, a holiday bonus of sorts. The remaining $250 was added to the annual base salary.