Lawrence school district and its teachers union announced on Friday they have reached a tentative agreement on a contract that would contribute $1.6 million for new teacher salaries.
Kyle Hayden, assistant superintendent for business and operations, said he was glad a new contract could be in place before the start of the next school year.
“That’s a positive for everybody,” he said.
Hayden said the district found additional money for teacher raises while completing the required budget documents for publication. An adjusted special education state aid calculation resulted in $250,000 in unanticipated new revenue for the district, he said.
Teachers are paid based on a pay schedule that provides more money both for teachers with more education and for teachers with more years of service, up to a maximum amount.
The two sides had reached an impasse when the district’s negotiating team stuck to its offer to increase each level on the schedule by $1,000, and the union stayed behind its offer that would have increased each level by $1,500.
Under the new compromise, each salary level would increase by $1,200. David Reber, a Free State High School science teacher, served as lead negotiator for the teachers.
“We were pleased that the board was able to essentially bridge that gap from where we were before,” Reber said. “We didn’t feel like we could do 100 percent of the moving.”
He said getting to more than $1,000 per level was important because more than half of the union’s membership had already reached the maximum amount of money for years of service.
During the previous year, district officials had granted teachers a $1,000 one-time payment to augment their salaries, and because that went away this year, a $1,000 raise would be equivalent to keeping the same salary, Reber said.
The contract is still subject to approval by the school board and the union’s membership. Reber said the union was still formulating a plan for when and how to conduct the election.
The Lawrence school board is scheduled to vote on the contract at its Aug. 13 meeting.
— Higher education reporter Andy Hyland can be reached at 832-6388. Follow him at Twitter.com/LJW_KU.